Well folks, it has happened! Today, BC Premier John Horgan announced a new reopening plan, following weeks of a ‘circuit-breaker’ set of restrictions in place across the province. The new ‘Safe Restart’ plan covers everything from travel to outdoor activities to dining, so let’s dive in!
In a nutshell, the ‘Safe Restart‘ plan has 4 steps aimed at returning to ‘normal’ life. As always, the steps will be informed by the state of the pandemic in the province, like new cases, ICU beds, and vaccinations. Since the ‘circuit-breaker’ worked as intended, BC is now ready to move into ‘Step 1’ of the plan.
So, starting today, a number of things will be changing. Once again, people will be able to dine in at restaurants, not just on patios. Social bubbles have been expanded, and BC residents can once again host small gatherings like BBQs, or meet up at an outdoor park.
As for travel, while the emphasis on ‘staying local’ has been lifted, the travel restrictions themselves have not. So, travelling between Vancouver Island, the Lower Mainland, and the rest of BC is still a no-no if it’s not essential. However, this does help people planning camping trips, hikes, and other summer activities in the 3 regions.
— BC Government News (@BCGovNews) May 25, 2021
Here’s the full rundown of exactly what’s coming in Step 1 of the Safe Restart plan!
- Maximum of five visitors or one household allowed for indoor personal gatherings
- Maximum of 10 people for outdoor personal gatherings
- Maximum of 10 people for seated indoor organized gatherings with safety protocols
- Maximum of 50 people for seated outdoor organized gatherings with safety protocols
- Recreational travel only within travel region (travel restrictions extended)
- Indoor and outdoor dining for up to six people with safety protocols
- Resume outdoor sports (games) with no spectators, low-intensity fitness with safety protocols
- Start gradual return to workplaces
- Provincewide mask mandate, business safety protocols and physical distancing measures remain in place
- Return of indoor in-person faith-based gatherings (reduced capacity) based on consultation with public health
Luckily, recreational travel across the province is part of BC’s ‘Step 2’, which will hopefully come by mid-June. There are some other major things coming in Step 2, like the reopening of movie theatres, in-person attendance at sporting events, and fitness classes returning. Step 2 also includes things like outdoor weddings with up to 50 people and graduation ceremonies.
The province is hoping that by early July things will be able to move into Step 3 (further loosening restrictions), and Step 4, which is more or less a full reopening of the province, by ‘late summer’. Step 4 is the doozy here, because that step allows for ‘large indoor and outdoor gatherings’, like music concerts and festivals.
However, the focus on the next few weeks is on getting through Step 1 and Step 2, as determined by the data provided on a day-to-day basis. The province didn’t shy away from saying that they were bringing a lot to the table today, and they absolutely followed through!