Capacity limits, parties cancelled as B.C. tries to hold back Omicron spread


Published December 17, 2021 at 4:36 pm

VICTORIA — British Columbia is placing restrictions on events and gatherings until the end of January in an effort to limit the fast-spreading COVID-19 Omicron variant.

Measures range from limits on venues that hold more than 1,000 people to 50 per cent capacity to no amateur sports tournaments over the Christmas period and the cancellation of all New Year’s Eve parties.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says indoor gatherings, including those at rental or holiday properties, are also being limited to one household, plus 10 guests, and everyone must be vaccinated. 

She says the Omicron variant is adding new and more complex challenges to the pandemic. 

“It is moving quickly and so must we. Right now we must slow the spread,” she said Friday. 

The 50 per cent capacity for hockey games, theatres and concerts will ensure there’s additional space for people, she says. 

“These are events that have been managed very well and we are not seeing a lot of transmission, but with this highly transmissible variant, we need to have more space, more ventilation and we need to ensure we are enforcing mask wearing requirements for these events.” 

The B.C. Vaccine card program must be used at all events and people will not be allowed to move between tables at restaurants.

The restrictions will start Monday and last until Jan. 31.

“We can still socialize with each other, but do it in a way that doesn’t increase risk,” Henry says. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 17, 2021.

The Canadian Press

INsauga's Editorial Standards and Policies