British Columbia

Gathering restrictions in Interior Health region to end Dec. 1

Gathering restrictions in B.C.'s Interior Health region will be relaxed Dec. 1 after a decrease in COVID-19 transmission in the area.

Region was placed under gathering restrictions on Aug. 20 after spike in cases

A woman wearing a mask walks down Bernard Avenue in downtown Kelowna, B.C. Gathering restrictions in the Interior Health region are set to be relaxed Dec. 1. (Winston Szeto/CBC)

Gathering restrictions in B.C.'s Interior Health region will be relaxed Wednesday, Dec. 1, after a decrease in COVID-19 transmission in the area.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced the changes at a news conference on Tuesday, saying there was also a flattening on hospitalization numbers in the health authority.

The region was placed under restrictions on Aug. 20 after a spike in transmission. Residents in the Interior will be able to host indoor and outdoor gatherings without capacity restrictions starting Wednesday.

However, provincial restrictions mandating masks in indoor spaces and requiring a vaccine card to access certain events will still apply to the region.

 

"We've been closely monitoring COVID-19 activity, hospitalizations, and immunization rates in Interior Health and we've seen our cases drop," said Dr. Sue Pollock, interim chief health officer for Interior Health.

"We will be lifting the regional restrictions tonight and people will be able to host gatherings in their home and indoor events will be able to return to full capacity with proof of vaccination."

At the news conference, Henry also announced worship services in B.C. (other than in Northern Health) must be limited to 50 per cent of capacity unless all participants are fully vaccinated. If they are all fully vaccinated, 100 per cent capacity will be allowed.

Participants attending worship services must wear a mask during services, unless eating or drinking is part of the ceremony. Worship leaders may remove them if they are distancing from others.

Regional restrictions are also set to be relaxed in the Northern Health region on Jan. 31 next year. However, Henry did not say when restrictions would be relaxed in the Fraser East health region.

With files from Courtney Dickson

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