On Saturday, November 7, Dr. Bonnie Henry announced new B.C. COVID-19 health restrictions that will be in effect from November 7 to November 23.*
The announcement came during an unusual Saturday press conference, which was called by Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix.
The new restrictions cut gathering limits down to only household members and called for the closure of group fitness studios.
This led locals to wonder what this means for those who live alone and what the exact ramifications will be on daily life.
To further break down the new health orders, we've answered some of the burning questions below in accordance with information from the Government of British Columbia.
What communities are included?
The two regions that are included in the new orders are located in the Lower Mainland and the Fraser Valley. The health regions are called Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health.
The communities included are:
- Howe Sound
- Lions Bay
- Maple Ridge
- New Westminster
- North Vancouver
- Pitt Meadows
- Port Coquitlam
- Port Moody
- Powell River
- Sunshine Coast Regional District
- West Vancouver
- White Rock
There are three communities that are exempt: Central Coast Regional District, Bella Coola Valley and Hope.
What are the rules surrounding gatherings?
While a number of new guidelines and restrictions have been released, the main focus was upon social gatherings. The guidelines' main message is that people who live in the impacted communities must "socialize only with those in [their] immediate household."
This means your immediate family, your roommates or a co-parent who lives in another home.
As for those who live alone, the guidelines are as follows: "People who live alone can socialize with one or two people at home, outside or at a restaurant. These one or two people become your immediate household."
The orders say that locals aren't allowed to invite friends or extended family over, gather outdoors or gather at a restaurant.
While restaurants remain open, you can only visit by yourself or with your immediate household.
The same goes for weddings and funerals, as you're only allowed to have them with your immediate household. Though, receptions are absolutely not allowed.
What will happen to group fitness classes?
As for fitness, it looks like you'll be working out solo for the next couple of weeks. Indoor group fitness has been suspended. This includes:
- Spin classes
- Group fitness
- Dance classes
- Any other indoor group activity that increases the respiratory rate
Also, indoor sports where you cannot social distance are suspended. This includes:
- Martial arts
"Indoor group physical activities can only resume when the business has updated their COVID-19 safety plan and received plan approval from their local Medical Health Officer."
What does this mean for travel?
Up until November 23 at 12 p.m. local time, the province is asking that people limit themselves to only essential travel in and out of the two health regions.
Will these orders be enforced?
As for enforcement, police and "compliance and enforcement officials" are now prepared to hand out fines to anyone who breaks the current orders.
"You must follow the orders," the government document reads.
Editor's note: This article has been updated.