What are you most excited to do when the B.C.-wide COVID-19 restrictions are lifted?
On Tuesday (May 25), provincial officials revealed B.C.'s restart plan, which outlines the new guidance on personal and organized gatherings.
Under the new rules, British Columbians may gather indoors with up to five people or one household in a personal setting. Additionally, up to 10 people may gather outdoors.
As long as everything goes according to plan — meaning cases of COVID-19 continue to trend down — health officials envision British Columbians will have mostly "normal social contact" by the first week of September.
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry stated that she has pitched the idea of a "B.C. Hug Day" to Premier John Horgan to celebrate the return of the deeply-missed social embrace.
Of course, people looking to travel outside of their health authority will have to pump the figurative brakes for at least a couple of weeks. While the Province plans to resume B.C.-wide travel on June 15, officials will monitor case numbers in the coming weeks to determine whether it is safe.
"It is a very effective measure of stopping transmission in introductions into communities"
When asked why restrictions on gatherings and indoor dining are easing up ahead of travel, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry told reporters that there are differences in transmission rates in communities around the province.
"It is a very effective measure of stopping transmission in introductions into communities. We're not yet at that point where enough people are immunized, where case levels are low enough, so that was the rationale around that," she explained.
"We know that indoor dining can happen when we're at certain levels. We know that people who work in the Restaurant and Food Association food businesses have been able to be immunized and I know a lot of people have been immunized so we have that extra layer of protection now with case rates coming down."
Countless people have weighed in on B.C.'s four-step plan, with many of them mentioning that it might not move forward as proposed.
Several British Columbians commented that the Province has lifted restrictions in the past and then implemented them again a few months or weeks later. In the summer of 2020, for example, B.C. lifted many restrictions on gatherings and then reinstated stricter ones in the fall and winter.
Some people, however, were simply relieved to hear that B.C. had a restart plan; others said that they are "cautiously optimistic."
Have a look at what some locals have to say about B.C.'s four-step restart plan.
B.C.'s Restart — a four-step plan to bring B.C. back together — will be a slow and gradual return to a more normal life, with safety and health protocols such as mask-wearing and physical distancing remaining in place and mandatory during the initial two steps of the plan.