Bonnie Henry has 'hope' sports and religious services can resume in 'coming weeks'

'Hope' for Easter at church

Provincial health officer Bonnie Henry hinted March 8 that she may soon relax her health orders that ban playing sports and taking part in religious ceremonies.

"In the coming weeks, we hope to see the return of sports and religious ceremonies," she said. "The focus will be, in the next few weeks, to meet both the specific needs of different faiths around the celebrations, and to ensure that public health measures and safety precautions remain in place."

When asked if church services could happen at Easter, Henry answered, "That is our goal."

She added that Ramadan and Vaisakhi are also coming up in April, and that she hopes that they will also be able to take place in person this year.

"My only qualifier is, you know, we're still in the middle of this pandemic," she said. "We're in the last miles of this marathon, yes, but we still have a lot of transmission in our communities. So we want to make sure it's a careful and thoughtful, phased approach. So it may not be what Easter celebrations have been in the past, but there will be celebrations and, unless things go off the rails, we are planning for them to be in person."

Health Minister Adrian Dix, however, said the metrics that chart the spread of COVID-19 in B.C. are "persistently high."

The BC Centre for Disease Control detected 1,462 new infections in the three days since the last provincial update: 545 on March 6, 532 on March 7 and 385 on March 8.

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