As the number of COVID cases in British Columbia continue to decline, the provincial government has announced that Canada Day will herald the launch for Phase Three of the provincial restart plan, an occasion which will bring many welcome benchmarks.
Premier John Horgan outlined the province's growing confidence in the evolution of the coronavirus, hailing the successful vaccination program for the planning levels of infection found in the last month or so.
"British Columbians have stepped up at every stage throughout this pandemic. We’ve helped our neighbours stay safe, we’ve sacrificed time with friends and family and we have diligently registered to get vaccinated. We’ve now reached a point in our vaccination efforts when we can begin to remove restrictions. Let’s continue to respect everyone’s comfort level as we safely take another step toward putting this pandemic behind us.” -- Premier John Horgan
The most significant of the relaxation of past measures is the wearing of masks, which as of July 1st will not be required for those who are fully vaccinated in the province, though some guidance on when a mask is required was included in today's information session.
The rules on socializing also don't quite release us from the burdens of caution and in some instances read like the script from the movie Footloose.
Among the relaxed measures of note from the shift from Step 2 to Step 3 also includes:
Return to normal for indoor and outdoor personal gatherings;
Maximum capacity for indoor organized gatherings of 50 people or up to 50% of a venue’s total capacity, whichever is greater
Maximum capacity for outdoor organized gatherings of 5,000 people or up to 50% of a venue’s total capacity, whichever is greater
Return to normal for fairs, festivals and trade shows, with communicable disease plans
Return to Canada-wide recreational travel
Reopening of casinos, with reduced capacity and ~50% of gaming stations permitted to open
Reopening of nightclubs, with up to 10 people seated at tables, no socializing between tables and no dancing
Return to normal hours for liquor service at restaurants, bars and pubs with table limits to be determined by venue and no socializing between tables
Return to normal for sports and exercise facilities, with communicable disease plans
Mask wearing recommended in indoor public spaces for all people 12 and older who are not yet fully vaccinated.
The path of COVID from January 2020 through to today can be examined from our archive page here.