Indoor restaurant dining, group fitness to be temporarily suspended as Henry calls for 'circuit breaker'

Indoor dining paused again

UPDATE: 1:29 p.m.

The provincial government is once again requiring B.C.’s restaurants, pubs and cafes to cease in-person indoor dining in an effort to curb the rising spread of COVID-19.

The announcement came Monday from Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, after a week of surging new-case counts — particularly in the Lower Mainland.

In addition to indoor dining being prohibited, indoor adult group fitness activities are also paused, as are indoor religious worship services that had been set to resume in some form in time for Easter. Whistler Blackcomb ski resort will be closed as cases spread in the community.

Henry also urged British Columbians to travel only for essential work or medical reasons, and to work from home whenever possible.

“We need to pay attention to this now,” she said.

“Non-essential activities need to be limited to outside only, and with the same group of people.”

The new restrictions go into effect at midnight Monday and will be in place until at least April 19, Henry said.

Premier John Horgan called Monday’s press conference “a call to caution” as he urged B.C. residents to do all they can to stop the virus from spreading.

“We have made such great progress together,” he said.

“We cannot blow it now. We are so close to the end.”

UPDATE 12:10 p.m.

CTV News is reporting the B.C. government will temporarily pause indoor dining at restaurants in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Citing unnamed sources, CTV says the new rules will come into effect at midnight and will last until April 19. Patio and takeout dining will not be impacted.

The restrictions are expected to be formally announced at 1 p.m.

with files from CTV Vancouver

ORIGINAL 11:40 a.m.

With COVID-19 case counts surging in the past week, speculation is circulating that more restrictions will be announced Monday.

B.C. premier John Horgan will join Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix at a news conference at 1 p.m. today. Castanet will carry the stream live.

Horgan is a late addition to the news conference — which was previously scheduled as a routine numbers announcement with just Henry and Dix — leading people to speculate new restrictions are coming.

The province is also expected to address news that Health Canada has issued a recommendation that the Astra-Zenneca vaccine should not be used on people under the age of 55. In B.C., those doses have been going almost exclusively to people in that age bracket as a part of targeted deployment to at-risk workers.

On Friday, health officials announced 908 new cases, the highest number of single-day case total since Nov. 27. The surge in new cases have been primarily in the Lower Mainland.

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