A skier wears a face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 during the first day of the downhill ski season at Cypress Mountain in West Vancouver, B.C. Friday, November 13, 2020. Recreational travel has been suspended across B.C. until at least Dec. 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS

A skier wears a face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 during the first day of the downhill ski season at Cypress Mountain in West Vancouver, B.C. Friday, November 13, 2020. Recreational travel has been suspended across B.C. until at least Dec. 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS

COVID-19: B.C. extends private gathering ban province-wide

Recreational travel, religious service also banned until Dec. 7

B.C.’s ban on private gatherings in the Lower Mainland has been extended province-wide and will continue for another two weeks to slow the spread of COVID-19, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says.

Social, recreational, sports and vacation trips are off across the province, and indoor exercise classes such as spin, interval training and hot yoga are also suspended everywhere in B.C.

Another public health order shuts down in-person religious services until at least Dec. 7, after they have been allowed to operate under the 50-person limit in recent months. Exceptions are allowed for weddings, funerals or baptisms with a maximum of 10 people present, and no receptions afterward. Daycares, addiction support meetings and other activities in church, gurdwara or temple buildings are allowed to continue, as are social service visits to homes by religious organizations.

The two-week duration of the province-wide order is to slow a rapid growth in coronavirus infections that has gone past 700 a day this week. “We may need to extend that,” Henry said Nov. 19. “That’s one incubation period.”

Henry said the intent of the province-wide private residence restriction is to only socialize with those in your immediate household for the next two weeks.

“It is OK to go for a walk outside with a friend,” she said. “It’s OK to make sure that your grandparents pick up the kids at school, or that you’re able to fix the furnace in your mother’s house. Those are not social gatherings and social events.”

RELATED: More senior home protection needed, industry group says

RELATED: Masks now mandatory in B.C. indoor public, retail spaces

Spectators at indoor or outdoor sporting events are also banned until the end of December, and all travel outside communities associated with sports is suspended. Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said the orders are designed to target areas of rapid virus spread, and businesses such as gyms and pubs will see stepped up inspections to check on their safety measures.

Patrons at restaurants and pubs are expected to wear masks when they are away from their tables, such as to go to washrooms. Henry said pubs and bars are a particular concern, after alcohol sales were restricted to 10 p.m.

“If you are thinking of skiing, go to a local mountain,” Henry said.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC politicsCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A woman wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 uses walking sticks while walking up a hill, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Interior Health reports 83 more COVID-19 infections overnight

46 cases are now associated with a COVID-19 community cluster in Revelstoke

Cariboo Chilcotin MLA Lorne Doerkson (right) with his partner Shelley Wiese participated in an BC Liberals Caucus virtual oath ceremony Friday, Nov. 27. Doerkson was appointed opposition critic of rural development by interim leader Shirley Bond. (Photo submitted)
Cariboo Chilcotin MLA appointed rural development opposition critic

Newly-elected Lorne Doerkson said it will be an honour to work for all rural consituents

Yunesit’in Chief Lennon Solomon signs a memorandum of understanding with COS Insp. Len Butler. The five-year agreement was signed outside the Tsilhqot’in National Government in downtown Williams Lake on Nov. 30. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
Yunesit’in Government, Conservation Officer Service team up to address illegal moose hunting

Protection of moose a key focus of recently signed memorandum of understanding

A man wearing a face mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19 walks past a mural in Vancouver on Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
212 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health over the weekend

A total of 490 cases remain active; 15 in hospital

Clinton fire hall, date unknown. Photo credit: Submitted
Clinton Volunteer Fire Department seeks funding for gear, equipment

More equipment needed after successful recruitment drive.

A tongue-in-cheek message about wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 on a sign outside a church near Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection count climbs back up to 656

20 more people in hospital, active cases still rising

A teacher places the finishing touches on the welcome sign at Hunter’s Glen Junior Public School which is part of the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) during the COVID-19 pandemic in Scarborough, Ont., on Sept. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Hindsight 2020: How do you preserve a year many Canadians would rather forget?

Figuring out how to preserve the story of the pandemic poses a series of challenges

Haley Callison. (Facebook photo)
Former B.C. pro hockey player frustrated with COVID-deniers after horrific bout with virus

Haleigh Callison hopes people will follow precautions and tone down the rhetoric

A man stands in the window of an upper floor condo in Vancouver on March 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Change made to insurance for B.C. condo owners amid rising premiums

Council CEO Janet Sinclair says the change will mean less price volatility

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The Walking Curriculum gets students outside and connecting with nature. (Amanda Peterson/Special to S.F. Examiner)
‘Walking Curriculum’ crafted by SFU professor surges in popularity

The outdoor curriculum encourages students to connect with the natural world

Interior Health said its new toll-free line will help people connect to health-care services. (File)
Interior Health expands toll-free line to improve access to community care

By calling1-800-707-8550, people can be connected to several health-care services

Most Read