By Laura Keil
On Tuesday, June 15, 2021, the Province transitions to Step 2 of BC’s Restart plan, including lifting travel restrictions within B.C.
“Thanks to our collective efforts and commitment to get vaccinated, we are ready to take another step forward in our careful restart,” said Premier John Horgan. “Better days are in sight, but we must continue to do our part, get vaccinated, keep our layers of protection strong and work together to put this pandemic behind us.”
More than 75% of adults are vaccinated with their first dose, exceeding the target Step 2 minimum threshold of 65%. The other metrics for moving through the stages – COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations – continue to steadily decline.
“The data shows us that with strong safety plans in place and all of us continuing to use our layers of protection, we can now increase our much-needed social connections a little bit more,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer. “Whether it is travelling to visit family in B.C., having a small wedding or watching your child’s soccer game, these are the things we have all missed.”
Public health safety protocols, such as mask wearing in all indoor public spaces and physical distancing, will remain in place during Step 2. As well, personal indoor gatherings will be limited to five visitors, or one other household.
Moving from Step 1 to Step 2 includes:
- B.C. recreational travel – non-essential travel ban lifted. Out-of-province non-essential travel advisory continues;
- maximum of 50 people for outdoor personal gatherings;
- maximum of 50 people for indoor seated organized gatherings (e.g., movie theatres, live theatre, banquet halls) with safety plans;
- indoor faith gatherings – a maximum of 50 people, or 10% of a place of worship’s total capacity, whichever number is greater – with safety plans;
- maximum of 50 spectators for outdoor sports;
- liquor service at restaurants, bars and pubs extended until midnight; and
- indoor sports games (no spectators) and high-intensity fitness with safety plans.
- indoors and outdoors (receptions outdoors only). Restaurants were allowed 6 people per table max, indoors or outdoors, and outdoor public gatherings (concerts/festivals) could host up to 150 people. Distancing and masking requirements remain in effect.
All other capacity limits and guidelines listed in Step 1 stay in place unless noted in the list above.
The earliest target start date for Step 3 is July 1, and Sept. 7 for Step 4.
Step 3 would involve the Provincial state of emergency lifted, return to normal for indoor and outdoor personal gatherings, increased capacity for indoor and outdoor organized gatherings with safety plans, nightclubs and casinos re-opening with safety plans, and new public health protocols at businesses.
Step 4 would involve a return to normal social contact, increased capacity at larger organized gatherings, no limits on indoor and outdoor spectator sports and business operating with new safety plans.
British Columbians travelling within B.C. are asked to plan ahead and be respectful while visiting communities, especially smaller and rural towns, as well as Indigenous communities – including respecting local travel advisories.
In Alberta, Stage 2 of their re-opening took effect June 10th, which allows outdoor social gatherings up to 20 people with social distancing (indoor social gatherings are still not permitted). Youth and adult sports resumed. Indoor recreation, entertainment and places of worship (rec centres, arenas, casinos, cinemas, theatres, museums, galleries, libraries, churches etc.) were open at 1/3 of fire code occupancy. Weddings and funerals could have up to 20 people indoors and outdoors (receptions outdoors only). Restaurants were allowed 6 people per table max, indoors or outdoors, and outdoor public gatherings (concerts/festivals) could host up to 150 people. Distancing and masking requirements remain in effect.
Alberta expects to enter Stage 3 of re-opening in late June or early July assuming 70 percent of Albertans 12+ have received at least one dose of vaccine. By Stage 3, all restrictions will be lifted, including the ban on indoor social gatherings Isolation requirements for confirmed cases of COVID-19 and some protective measures in continuing care settings would remain.