Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says she is lifting more COVID-19 restrictions in the province because of BC's lowered rates of hospitalization and transmission.
The changes will come in phases, beginning by removing the public mask mandate immediately and ending the BC Vaccine Card system next month.
The lifting of the mask mandate and other restrictions is a welcome sign for many people, however we need to be mindful that there will be those around us who will adapt to the easing of restrictions at their own pace. People will do this in a way that is right for them, and as always, this is a time for kindness and understanding.
Graphic via Government of BC
Starting on Friday, March 11, people will no longer be required to wear face masks in public indoor settings.
As well, there are no restrictions on worship service capacity for religious institutions. The restriction on overnight camping trips for children and youth is also lifted.
Next Friday, March 18, the restrictions on visitor limits at long-term care and seniors' assisted living facilities will also be removed.
For primary and secondary public schools, when Kindergarten to Grade 12 return from spring break, masks will no longer be required for students, staff or visitors.
Lastly, on Friday, April 8, the BC Vaccine Card system will no longer be required to access businesses, events and other services. However, businesses and events may still choose to enforce their own proof of vaccination program for entry.
Note that despite the lifting of restrictions, FNHA medical officers recommend taking precautions in preventing the spread of COVID-19, including ensuring your COVID-19 vaccines are up-to-date.
For more information on the easing of restrictions, please visit https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/covid-19/info/restrictions
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If you are fully vaccinated and your second shot was over six months ago, be sure to get your booster. Pregnant people are at higher risk due to COVID-19 and are eligible for a booster shot eight weeks after their second dose. The efficacy of all vaccines fades over time, which is why boosters are needed for optimal protection..