Provincial restrictions are in place to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Some restrictions are made by the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) under the Public Health Act and others are made under the Emergency Program Act (EPA). Most orders can be enforced by police and compliance and enforcement officials.
Last updated: April 1, 2021
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Do your part to keep B.C. safe
Stronger province-wide restrictions
Between March 29 at 11:59 pm and April 19 at 11:59 pm the PHO is strengthening province-wide restrictions:
- The variance allowing indoor religious gatherings and worship services between March 28 and May 13 is suspended
- Indoor low intensity group exercise classes are cancelled
- Restaurants, pubs and bars are closed for indoor dining. Outdoor patio seating and take-out or delivery is allowed
- Whistler Blackcomb ski resort is closed
In addition to the orders, the PHO strongly recommends:
- Working from home whenever possible, unless it is essential to be in the workplace
- Keeping your child home from school if they feel sick or have any sign of illness
- Getting testing immediately if you or anyone in your family feels sick
- Avoiding all non-essential travel
Masks in schools
All K to 12 staff and all students in grades 4 to 12 are required to wear non-medical masks in all indoor areas, including:
- At their work stations (desks)
- On school buses
- Within and outside learning groups
PHO order on gatherings and events
This content is a summary of the PHO order – Gatherings and Events (PDF) document. It is not legal advice and does not provide an interpretation of the law. In the event of any conflict or difference between this webpage and the order, the order is correct and legal and must be followed.
No indoor social gatherings of any size at your residence with anyone other than your household or, if you live alone, your core bubble. For example:
- Do not invite friends or extended family inside your residence or vacation accommodation
- Do not host a party or event inside your house
Up to 10 people can gather outdoors. For example:
- Up to 10 people can gather at a park or beach
- Up to 10 people can gather in the backyard of a residence
Do not gather with several groups of new people. Stick to the same people. Continue to use COVID-19 layers of protection and maintain physical distancing. Patios and outdoor areas at restaurants, pubs and bars are not included as places to gather with 10 people at one table.
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Co-parenting and legal parenting arrangements
Supporting family members or isolated people
Visiting people who live alone
Gatherings and events by sector
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Cultural events and gatherings
Drive-in and drop-off events
Indoor funerals, weddings and baptisms
Indoor religious gatherings and worship services
Meals for people in need
Outdoor religious gatherings and worship services
Perimeter seating vehicles and buses (limo and party bus)
Rental and home sale viewings
Retail businesses, vending markets and episodic markets
Youth extracurricular activities
Activities allowed under the order
These activities are not considered a social gathering:
- Going for a walk or hike
- Parents carpooling kids to and from school
- Grandparents providing child care
- Public pools and public skating rinks, when not associated with an event, are allowed to continue to operate with a COVID-19 Safety Plan
****ALL EXERCISE RULES AND REGS ARE EXCLUDED FROM THIS REPORT
PHO order on restaurants, pubs and bars
Restaurants, pubs, bars and food courts are closed for indoor dining until April 19 at 11:59 pm.
- Outdoor patio seating and take-out or delivery is allowed
- Breweries, wineries and tasting rooms can operate outdoor patios
- Liquor may only be served on a patio if people are seated
In order to limit the spread of COVID-19, people should only be dining at restaurants with their household. For people who live alone, this should be with a maximum of two people they regularly interact with (core bubble).
Restaurants, pubs and bars must have a COVID-19 Safety Plan and employee protocols in place. WorkSafeBC will be conducting inspections to verify that COVID-19 Safety Plans remain effective. Establishments that are noncompliant with plan requirements may face orders and fines, and possible referral to public health which may result in a closure order.
EPA order on masks in public indoor settings
As outlined in the EPA mask mandate order, masks are required for everyone in many public indoor settings. A face shield is not a substitute for a mask as it has an opening below the mouth.
There are exemptions for:
- People with health conditions or with physical, cognitive or mental impairments who cannot wear one
- People who cannot remove a mask on their own
- Children under the age of 12
- People who need to remove their masks to communicate due to another person’s hearing impairment
Masks are required in many indoor public settings and all retail stores. This includes:
- Malls, shopping centres
- Grocery stores
- Coffee shops
- On public transportation, in a taxi or ride-sharing vehicle
- Places of worship
- Common areas of post-secondary institutions, office buildings, court houses (except court rooms), hospitals and hotels
- Clothing stores
- Liquor stores
- Drug stores
- Community centres
- Recreation centres
- City Halls
- Restaurants, pubs and bars when not seated at a table
- Sport or fitness facilities when not working out
You could be subject to a $230 fine if you:
- Do not wear a mask in an indoor public setting, unless you are exempt
- Refuse to comply with the direction of an enforcement officer, including the direction to leave the space
- Engage in abusive or belligerent behaviour
Masks at workplaces and shared living areas
It is strongly recommended that masks be worn in the following areas:
- Common areas in apartment buildings and condos, including:
- Shared indoor workplace spaces, including:
- Break rooms
At this time, all non-essential travel should be avoided. This includes travel into and out of B.C. and between regions of the province. For example:
- Do not travel for a vacation
- Do not travel to visit friends or family outside of your household or core bubble
Travel for essential reasons
Individual circumstances may affect whether a trip is considered essential or non-essential. Essential travel within B.C. includes:
- Regular travel for work within your region
- Travel for things like medical appointments and hospital visits
For example, if you live in Vancouver and work in Surrey you can continue to commute.
If you need to travel for essential reasons, take the same health and safety precautions you do at home.
- Wash your hands often
- Practice safe distancing, 2 m
- Travel only with yourself, household or core bubble
- Stick to the outdoors whenever possible
- Clean spaces often
- Wear a mask in indoor spaces
First Nations communities
Many First Nations have declared a state of emergency for their communities and enacted COVID-19 community protection by-laws including travel bans for non-residents and non-essential visitors. It is important to respect these restrictions in addition to the province-wide travel advisory.
Whistler Blackcomb closure
The Whistler Blackcomb ski resort is closed until April 19 at 11:59 pm.
Coming from outside of B.C.
At this time, people travelling to B.C. from another province or territory within Canada should only come for essential reasons. If you do travel, you are expected to follow the same travel guidelines as everyone else in B.C.
During a public health emergency under the Public Health Act, the PHO can make orders as needed. You must follow the orders. Some orders can be enforced by police or other compliance and enforcement officials. People who don’t follow these orders could be fined.