Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the province during a press conference in the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, October 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the province during a press conference in the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, October 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

COVID-19: What the new health orders mean for Fraser Health residents, businesses

No social gatherings, several sports cancelled, enhanced rules for businesses

In a rare Saturday press conference, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry issued a number of new provincial health orders and recommendations that further restrict businesses and residents in Surrey and White Rock.

Tailored specifically for the Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal regions, the new orders and recommendations impact sports, workout facilities, social gatherings, workplaces and travel. There were no new orders placed on schools.

Regions outside of Fraser and Vancouver Coastal are not to be impacted by the new orders, which came into effect Saturday at 10 p.m. and are to remain until Nov. 23 at 12 p.m. However, the government has left open the possibility of an extension.

Social interactions and gatherings

Residents are no longer allowed to have a “safe six” group of friends to gather and interact with. The province is telling residents to not invite friends or family into their household. Funerals and weddings may proceed only with immediate household members.

However, Henry said people who live alone are still allowed to visit people in their social bubble.

“It’s very challenging for those who live alone,” Henry said, adding that people who live alone can have a “very small number of people who are in your bubble” over for a visit.

“It means if you do have one or two people you’re close with that you are considering your family, your bubble, your household, then stick to those people.”

PROVINCE: Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley restrictions

Minister of Health Adrian Dix added that now is the time to reach out to friends and family members via FaceTime or by phone to support them.

It’s unclear, at this time, if the order on social gatherings applies to outdoor gatherings. Contacted Sunday, a spokesperson with the Ministry of Health said a clarification on the order is expected at some point today (Nov. 8.).

Sports and indoor physical activities

Businesses, recreation centres or other organization’s that operate indoor group physical activities are suspended.

The suspension includes spin classes, yoga, group fitness, dance classes and any other group indoor activity that increases the respiratory rate.

Indoor sports where physical distancing cannot be maintained is also suspended, including activities such as boxing, martial arts, hockey, volleyball and basketball.

Suspended group activities can be replaced with individual exercise or practice that allows participants to maintain a safe distance, according to the order.

Indoor group physical activities can only resume after the business has updated its COVID-19 safety plan and receive plan approval from a local medical health officer.

Travel for sports into and out of the region is suspended.

The new order does not apply to physical activities in schools.

Workplaces and restaurants

The new orders mandate all work places to conduct active daily in-person screening of all onsite workers using the COVID-19 symptom check list that is part of every business restart safety plan.

Workplaces must ensure that all workers and customers maintain appropriate physical distancing and wear masks when appropriate.

“Extra care should be taken in small office spaces, break rooms and kitchens,” the order states.

While there isn’t an order mandating people to work from home if possible, Henry made a suggestion that businesses allow employees to work from home if able.

“Consider going back to actively supporting people working from home in certain businesses, if possible,” Henry said.

SEE ALSO: 589 new COVID-19 infections in B.C.

In restaurants, Henry said the restrictions in place for no more than six people at a table, no “table hopping”, wearing a mask, and keeping a safe distance remain in place.

Henry said that restaurants that have been following the rules have not had transmission events. However, she noted a concern around “slippage of rules” or customers becoming complacent, and offered a “fair warning” to establishments.

“We will be cracking down on those, we know the inspectors know where the restaurants are, we’ve been working with WorkSafe. We will be paying attention, particularly to restaurants, because we know it can become an environment where we have seen transmission,” Henry said.

Travel

Henry recommended that people not travel into or out of the Lower Mainland and the Fraser Valley for the next two weeks, unless it’s essential travel.

“Right now we are advising, in the strongest terms, that people need to stay in their local community,” Henry said. “Right now, we have to go back to what we were doing in March, April and May where it was essential travel only.”

Schools and day-cares

No new orders were placed on schools or day-cares.

“Schools are one of the things we want to protect because we know how important it is for teachers, for students, for families to have schools operating,” she said.

“What happens in schools reflects what’s happening in our community, that’s why the focus has been on reducing transmission in our communities. What we have not seen is a lot of transmission events in schools. Schools are not amplifying the virus.”

As of Sunday morning, Fraser Health listed 43 schools in the region where a recent COVID-19 exposure has taken place.

Henry said the order on social gatherings does not apply to in-home day-cares.

Churches

No new restrictions or orders were placed on churches or places of worship. The order on social gatherings does not apply to places of religion.

“Those are not social gatherings. The 50-person limit, with physical distancing and all of the important restrictions that have been in place around churches and other religious centres, remain in place,” Henry said.

Party-buses and limousines.

The province said party-buses and group limousines must stop operating, immediately. Resuming operations is at the discretion of Henry and may be extended beyond Nov. 23 at 12 p.m.

The new orders and recommendations were made after the province experienced a significant spike in COVID-19 cases.

After weeks of reporting cases in the 100 to 200 mark, cases spiked to 589 cases on Friday and 567 new cases on Saturday.

Of the new cases reported Saturday, 411 were in Fraser Health region, and 122 cases were in the Vancouver Coastal Health region. More than 100 people are in hospital with more than 30 in critical care.

Coronavirus

Just Posted

The Abbotsford International Airshow is back for 2021 with the ‘SkyDrive’ concept.
Abbotsford International Airshow returns for 2021 with ‘SkyDrive’

New format features a drive-in movie type experience, show set for Aug. 6 to 8

A young couple walks through the Othello Tunnels just outside of Hope. (Jessica Peters/Black Press)
Hope’s Othello Tunnels fully open to the public

Geological testing proved the area safe enough to open for the first time in more than a year

FILE
70 per cent of people aged 12 and older in Agassiz-Harrison have been vaccinated

More than 80 per cent of adults aged 50 and older have been vaccinated, as of June 10

Raeya Evie Duncan was the 100th baby born at Chilliwack General Hospital for the month of May. She is seen here with her parents Alysha Williams and Andrew Duncan on June 12, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Baby boom in Chilliwack as record number of infants born at CGH in May

‘COVID babies are coming out,’ says dad of 100th baby born at Chilliwack General Hospital last month

Agassiz Agricultural Hall hosts COVID-19 vaccination clinics every Wednesday. District officials reported more than 300 doses are administered per week. (Adam Louis/Observer)
Walk-in COVID vaccine clinic scheduled for Wednesday

Walk-in appointments available while supplies last from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz have set their wedding date for February, hoping that more COVID-19 restrictions will have lifted. (The Macleans)
B.C. couples ‘gambling’ on whether COVID rules will let them dance at their wedding

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz pushed back their wedding in hopes of being able to celebrate it without the constraints of COVID-19

A plane is silhouetted as it takes off from Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C., May 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Report calls for airlines to refund passengers for flights halted due to COVID-19

Conclusion: federal help should be on the condition airlines immediately refund Canadian travellers

Green party Leader Annamie Paul speaks during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, June 15, 2021. Paul has survived another day of party strife after a planned ouster shifted course, leaving her with a tenuous grip on power ahead of a likely federal election this year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Green Leader Annamie Paul blasts ‘racist,’ ‘sexist’ party execs who sought ouster

Fallout has continued, with two of the federal council’s members resigning

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says re-opening B.C.’s border to the U.S. ‘is not in our best interest’ right now. (B.C. Government photo)
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry (B.C. Government photo)
B.C. records 113 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, four deaths

Vaccination of young people rising quickly, near 75 per cent

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

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

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and U.S President Joe Biden shake hands during their meeting at the ‘Villa la Grange’ in Geneva, Switzerland in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, June 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool)
Biden says meeting with Putin not a ‘kumbaya moment’

But U.S. president asserted Russian leader is interested in improved relations, averting a Cold War

Vancouver Giants will return to the ice on Oct. 8, hosting the Prince George Cougars at Langley Events Centre. (Special to Langley Advance Times)
Vancouver Giants will renew division rivalry with Cougars when season resumes in October

First game on Langley Events Centre home ice since February of last year

Most Read