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COVID-19: Bars shut down in B.C, public health emergency declared

Province has 3 new deaths, 83 new cases, bringing total to 186
Henry and Dix
B.C.'s top medical health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry (right) with Health Minister Adrian Dix. B.C. government photo

Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.'s top medical health officer, declared a public health emergency in the province Tuesday afternoon.

Henry also announced there are three new deaths and 83 new cases of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Two of the new deaths are residents in the Lynn Valley Care Centre in North Vancouver.

The third was a person in their 80s, who died in hospital.

Henry then revealed that all bars in the province must close, as they can't guarantee the kind of safe social distancing (two metres) needed to prevent spread of the disease.

She said declaring a public health emergency allows the government to act faster and to deploy the police to enforce the order if necessary.

As well as bars and clubs, police officers could be used to take action if people are not following a self-isolation order.

"This is a time for calm," Henry added.

She said some restaurants and cafes may be able to operate, if they can maintain social distances between customers and staff.

Henry further pleaded with employers to allow staff to work from home, if at all possible.

"We need to break the chain of transmission. The risk is changing rapidly," she directed at employers.

Five provinces across Canada have now declared a health emergency.

Henry said 116 of the reported cases of COVID-19 are in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 47 in Fraser Health, 12 on Vancouver Island, seven in the Interior and four in Northern Health.

She further urged people to exercise proper hand, coughing habits, avoid touching your face and staying away from others.

Seven of the current cases, Henry said, are in hospital, four of whom are in intensive care.


The Prime Minister and the country's top health officials have pleaded with all Canadians to exercise social distance and keep gatherings to less than 50 people.

On Monday, the prime minister announced Canada is shutting its air borders to foreign nationals, and only allowing entry to Canadian citizens and permanent residents.

Exceptions to this include air crews, family members of citizens and Americans. 

As of Tuesday morning, there are over 400 cases of the coronavirus in Canada, spread over the country's ten provinces.

Eight Canadians repatriated from the Grand Princess cruise ship have tested positive for the virus will in quarantine at CFB Trenton.

On Monday, B.C. health authorities reported 30 new cases of COVID-19, and three more deaths, all residents of the Lynn Valley Care Centre in North Vancouver.

Globally, there are 190,836 cases of the coronavirus, with 7,527 deaths reported. 

For more of our COVID-19 coverage, click here