Confusion as B.C. quietly extends health orders indefinitely

Health orders extended?

Provincial health orders which were set to expire on January 18 now appear to have been extended, but the government said more details are coming Tuesday.

The provincial health orders on gathering sizes, a ban on indoor events and the closure of gyms, bars and nightclubs across B.C. were quietly extended indefinitely on Monday, sparking an uproar on social media.

Health Minister Adrian Dix issued an explanation on Twitter, indicating the extension was only put in place to get through to the next provincial update, which is expected Tuesday afternoon.

At this point, it is not clear if the restrictions will be extended or lifted on Tuesday. The provincial government has been tight-lipped about the situation since last week. But, the government's website has changed any reference to the restrictions ending and instead now states that the orders, "do not have an expiration date."

In the latest round of restrictions, movie theatres, arenas and other venues were allowed to reopen, but only at 50 per cent capacity. Gym and fitness centre owners continue to wait and see if they can reopen, while some like West Kelowna' Iron Energy have defied the orders to close.

Current restrictions:

  • limits on indoor personal gatherings to the household plus 10 individuals, or the household plus one other household, if all are 12 and older and fully vaccinated
  • requirement of B.C. Vaccine Card to access organized events of all sizes, and QR codes must be scanned
  • requirement of restricted movement between tables anywhere where food and liquor is served, and of masks being worn when not seated
  • limits on venues to 1,000 people or more to 50 per cent seated capacity, with mask requirements and scanning of B.C. Vaccine Card QR codes
  • prohibition of all sports tournaments until the order is no longer in effect.

The government says it will announce more details at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

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