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Clarity on the New Provincial Health Order

November 9, 2020

On November 7, 2020 the BC Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry issued a new public order to significantly reduce the level of social interactions and travel in the Vancouver Coastal and Fraser Health regions for two weeks up to November 23, 2020 at 12:00pm.


By order of the PHO, all individuals, places of work and businesses within the Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health regions must significantly reduce social interactions and travel.

The order is in effect from November 7, 2020 at 10:00 pm to November 23, 2020 at 12:00 pm.

Social interactions

Socialize only with those in your immediate household. A household is:

  • Your immediate family
  • A group of people who live in the same dwelling. For example:
  • If you have a rental suite in your home, the suite is a separate household
  • If you live in an apartment or house with roommates, you are all members of the same household
  • A co-parent who lives outside your household
  • People who live alone

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.


No social gatherings of any size with anyone other than your immediate household. For example:

  • Do not invite friends or extended family to your household
  • Do not gather outdoors
  • Do not gather at restaurants

Note: Going for a walk is not considered a social gathering. You must make sure a walk does not turn into a group of people meeting outside.

Funerals and weddings

Funerals and weddings may proceed with your immediate household only.

  • Funeral or wedding receptions at any location are not allowed, including reception events held at community-based venues
  • This includes events of fewer than 50 people

Businesses, recreation centres or other organizations that organize or operate indoor group physical activities must suspend these activities.

This includes:

  • Spin classes
  • Yoga
  • Group fitness
  • Dance classes
  • Any other group indoor activity that increases the respiratory rate

Indoor sports where physical distancing cannot be maintained are suspended.

This includes activities like:

  • Boxing
  • Martial arts
  • Hockey
  • Volleyball
  • Basketball

These activities can be replaced with individual exercise or practice that allows everyone to maintains a safe physical distance.

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.

Workplace safety

All businesses and worksites must conduct active daily in-person screening of all onsite workers using the COVID-19 symptom check list that is part of every business restart safety plan.

  • Workplaces must ensure that all workers and customers maintain appropriate physical distance and wear masks when appropriate
  • Extra care should be taken in small office spaces, break rooms and kitchens
  • Party-buses and limousines

Party-buses and group limousines must stop operations immediately. Resuming operations is at the discretion of the PHO and may extend beyond November 23, 2020 at 12:00 pm.


From November 7, 2020 at 10:00 pm to November 23, 2020 at 12:00 pm travel into and out of the Lower Mainland and the Fraser Valley should be limited to essential travel only.


What about outdoor gatherings?

The province clarified on Sunday that the ban on gatherings from people outside your household includes outdoor gatherings and gatherings in restaurants. People can still go on walks or bike rides with one person who is not from their immediate household, but need to be vigilant that a walk doesn’t turn into a group of people meeting outside and must physically distance from one another during the activity. While walking and cycling safely is OK, people are not permitted to gather together at all in private yards.

What are the new rules around travel?

Travel in and out of the Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health regions is to be limited to essential travel only. If you do not live in either region do not to travel to Metro Vancouver at this time, but if they must, to exercise caution.

What are the new rules around fitness facilities?

Businesses and recreation centres that operate indoor group physical activities have been told to suspend these activities. That includes spin classes, yoga, group fitness, dance classes, and other group indoor activities that increase respiratory rates.

Indoor sports where physical distancing cannot be maintained are also suspended. That includes boxing, martial arts, hockey, volleyball, and basketball.

Indoor group physical activities will be able to reopen once businesses have updated their COVID-19 safety plan and received approval from their local Medical Health Officer.

These rules do not apply to school-based sports programs. Gyms that do not operate group fitness, and where physical distancing can be maintained at all times, are able to remain open. Pools also remain open.

Are restaurants closing?

As a general rule, no. But restaurants are being asked to review their COVID-19 safety plans, and ensure that tables are spaced six feet apart, with seating limited to six people.

Restaurants that are unable to maintain these rules will be asked to return to a take-out only model.

What about other workplaces?

Workplaces should be encouraging all those who are able to work from home to do so.

For people who must continue to go into their place of work, workplaces must ensure that all workers and customers maintain appropriate physical distance and wear masks when appropriate. Extra care should be taken in small office spaces, break rooms and kitchens, as transmission of the virus has been noted in those spaces.

Party buses and limousines are ordered to stop operating immediately. For those businesses, restrictions could extend beyond two weeks.

What about religious gatherings?

The restrictions do not apply to religious gatherings, so long as physical distancing can be maintained, and gatherings remain under 50 people.

Why aren’t schools closed?

Keeping schools open is a priority, and schools are not currently a source of major transmission in the province.

Effective immediately, Employers are required to do the following:

  • Review their COVID-19 Safety Plans.
  • Conduct daily active in-person screening for all workers on site between November 7 and November 23 using the COVID-19 Symptom Checklist. You may want to use a temperature testing device as well daily and keep a log.


Vancouver Coastal Health:  

With thanks to the Surrey Board of Trade


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