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UPDATE – Restrictions for Indoor Dining to be Extended Well Into May (VIDEO)

Vancouver – APRIL 14 UPDATE – Indoor Dining Restrictions will be extended into May. That was the word on Tuesday from the B.C. Restaurant and Foodservices Association. These restrictions are expected to extend through the May Victoria Day Long weekend as COVID cases are now averaging 1000 new cases a day.

The BCRFA released an internal statement which was quickly brought to media attention. The BCRFA association posted a notice Tuesday advising that the instruction came from a meeting with provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, and was attended by representatives from Restaurants Canada and the Alliance of Beverage Licensees of B.C.

That notice has since been removed from mailchimp.

The initial suspension for restaurants and other services and institutions was to expire April 19.

Ian Tostensen with the BC Restaurant and FoodServices Association said on Tuesday that restrictions on indoor dining across B.C. could last up to the May long weekend and that he and other industry stakeholders met with Dr. Bonnie Henry, claiming she confirmed the restaurants set to expire on April 19 will be extended.

The variance allowing indoor religious gatherings and worship services between March 28 and May 13 is suspended.

MARCH 29 ORIGINAL STORY – In a rare appearance with the Public Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix, Premier John Horgan was blunt in a statement on Monday.

“We’ve Come So Far .. Let’s Not Blow This”. Horgan was also referring to the age bracket of 20-39 who don’t seem to get the message of how serious the pandemic is. Horgan has since received push back criticism over targeting young people with his comments. “The cohort from 20 to 39 are not paying as much attention to these broadcasts and quite frankly, are putting the rest of us in a challenging situation.”

Dr. Henry noted that the UK variant has increased in BC.

Due to concerns in some patients in Europe, the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine is temporarily suspended in BC for use for people under 55. This will be “for the next few days”.

In BC – Dr. Henry reported 2,518 new cases of COVID-19 over the past three days, along with six new deaths.

Closures and Suspensions Until April 19:

Indoor dining at restaurants is paused for the next three weeks (Patios, take-out and delivery exempt and stay within household) Gyms are also on hold (personal training can continue).

Indoor worship services are paused. This happening just before Easter. Outdoor worship services remain open.

Whistler Blackcomb resort ordered closed. Dr.Henry: “If you have traveled to Whislter you must stay home from work or school arrange to get tested immediately.”

Public health guidance for schools has also been amended to support and encourage students down to Grade 4 to wear masks while at school.

Work from home, wherever possible.

The official Monday Media Release:

To address rising COVID-19 case counts, protect people and communities and help break the chain of COVID-19 transmission, the provincial health officer is amending the provincial public health orders effective midnight tonight, March 30, 2021.

“COVID-19 continues to create challenges for people and businesses throughout B.C., and we are grateful for the sacrifices people continue to make to keep one another safe,” said Premier John Horgan. “We know that the idea of more restrictions is not welcome news, but we are asking people to rise to the challenge with the confidence that vaccines mean better days are ahead. We are not out of the woods yet, but the provincial health officer’s orders, combined with our vaccines, give us the tools we need to move out of this pandemic together.”

New and amended orders and guidelines are in effect through April 19, 2021, and include:

  • For restaurants, bars and pubs, all food and liquor-serving premises must only provide take-out or delivery service. Dine-in service is prohibited, except for outdoor patios. People dining on patios should do so with their immediate household or core bubble.
  • Indoor, adult group fitness activities of any kind are also paused. Gyms and fitness centres are restricted to individual or one-on-one activities only i.e. one-on-one personal training.
  • The previously announced class variance for limited indoor worship services has been suspended. Outdoor worship services under the current variance may continue.
  • Travel continues to be limited to essential travel, work or medical reasons only. For those who have travelled outside their health region, if you or anyone in your family develops any signs of illness, you must stay home from work, school or daycare, and arrange to get tested immediately.
  • Whistler-Blackcomb ski resort is closed through to April 19, 2021, to address and prevent community spread related to non-essential travel.
  • All workers are strongly encouraged to work from home, where possible.
  • Public health guidance for schools has also been amended to support and encourage students down to Grade 4 to wear masks while at school.

“Rising case levels, variants of concern, increased transmission and an increase in more severe cases are huge concerns,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “B.C. public health officials are making the tough choices now to break the chain and protect our communities.”

Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, said: “Social connection is important, and so is keeping our loved ones and ourselves safe. We all have a choice – to stay safe or put our loved ones, our friends and ourselves at risk, which is why non-essential activities need to be limited and need to be outside with the same small number of people. The sacrifices we make today will help all of us to get through this storm.”

From the daily report:

“Today, we are reporting three periods: from March 26 to 27, we had 936 new cases; from March 27 to 28, we had 805 new cases and in the last 24 hours, we had a further 777 new cases.

“This results in a total of 2,518 new cases, and a total of 98,195 cases in British Columbia.

“There are 6,902 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, with 10,377 people under public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases. A further 89,722 people who tested positive have recovered.

“Of the active cases, 299 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, 79 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people with COVID-19 are recovering at home in self-isolation.

“Since we last reported, we have had 816 new cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 1,280 new cases in the Fraser Health region, 142 in the Island Health region, 156 in the Interior Health region, 121 in the Northern Health region and three new cases of people who reside outside of Canada.

“There have been 321 new confirmed COVID-19 cases that are variants of concern in our province, for a total of 2,233 cases. Of the total cases, 413 are active and the remaining people have recovered. This includes 1,915 cases of the B.1.1.7 (U.K.) variant, 48 cases of the B.1.351 (South Africa) variant and 270 cases of the P.1 (Brazil) variant.

“To date, 699,092 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca-SII COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in B.C., 87,289 of which are second doses.

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