Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry issued an order Monday (Oct. 26) to heavily limit gatherings in private homes.
Following a record-breaking weekend of new COVID-19 cases, Henry issued a public health order limiting private gatherings to one household, plus a group of “safe six” only. For larger families, a safe gathering at home may include just their household, depending on the number of people in it.
“We have seen enough transmission to take action on these issues,” she said.
The new order comes after B.C. had a record of cases over the weekend. The province reported 817 new cases, with 317 Friday to Saturday, 293 from Saturday to Sunday and 207 from Sunday to Monday, as well as three deaths.
The focus of the order is in Fraser Health, because a “large proportion” of troubling gatherings has been in that region. However, Henry said that similar gatherings have taken place all across B.C., and thus the order will apply to the entire province.
“When you come together, you bring your risks with you. And when others leave, they take their risks with them,” Henry said.
“That means no Halloween parties.”
The new order is enforceable by peace officers, Henry said, but noted she believed that most people are not breaking the rules on purpose. However, she did note that if a party is clearly breaking the rules, that is an occasion to call in the violation.
While the new household plus safe six rules is for private homes, people hosting gatherings in public areas should also remain cautious, Henry said. The limit remains at 50 people, but safety measures including masks, distancing and ventilation are more important than ever.
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