Skip to content

B.C. loosens restrictions on outdoor gatherings

British Columbians can now gather with up to 10 people outside; at the same time, St. Patrick's Day festivities in a pub appear out of the question
White Pine Beach 1w
Health officials have loosened restrictions on outdoor gatherings for up to 10 people. STEFAN LABBE/THE TRI-CITY NEWS

British Columbia’s provincial health officer has loosened restrictions on outdoor gatherings for up to 10 people, opening the door for park picnics and outside playdates in time for spring break. 

The amended public health order, said Dr. Bonnie Henry, is designed to allow people in the same family, school cohort or among a limited group of friends to re-connect in a safe setting. 

“No dinner parties. Don’t ask a restaurant to have a special event for you,” said Henry. “We need to focus on some of the things we can do and can do safely.”

“Find ways to explore in your neighbourhood. Find ways to connect with friends at a park.”

Indeed, the province’s top doctor said there will be no changes to the restrictions on indoor gatherings. As Saint Patrick’s Day approaches, Henry said she has amended public health orders regulating the sale of alcohol to mirror restrictions put in place on New Year’s Eve. 

That means liquor sales must cease March 17 from 8 p.m., with a ban continuing until 9 a.m. the next day.

The restrictions come as modelling from the BC Centre for Disease Control indicates a range of trajectories depending on the rate of contact infectious people have with others. 

At an under 50% infectious contact rate, the model shows a downward trajectory of new active cases. But raise the rate of contact to above 60%, and the models show cases rapidly skyrocketing.