Pub patio in Victoria reopens with widely spaced tables, June 2020, after initial COVID-19 shutdown of indoor dining in B.C. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

Pub patio in Victoria reopens with widely spaced tables, June 2020, after initial COVID-19 shutdown of indoor dining in B.C. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

B.C. stops indoor dining, fitness, religious service due to COVID-19 spike

Three-week suspension starts at midnight as coronavirus ‘circuit breaker’

B.C. is stopping indoor dining and liquor sales, indoor adult group fitness and indoor religious services for the next three weeks, in what provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry calls a “circuit breaker” for a fast rise in COVID-19 cases.

The new rule takes effect at midnight tonight (March 29), and extends to April 19. It applies to pubs and restaurants as well as adult fitness activities. Patio dining and take-out are not affected, and individual or one-on-one fitness is still allowed with existing restrictions. Whistler Blackcomb ski resort is also closing for the period, after an increase in positive in the province’s largest resort community.

Premier John Horgan said Monday that case counts have been “unacceptably high” in the past 10 days, and it is particularly people aged 20 to 39 who are spreading the coronavirus.

“We’ve come a great distance but we cannot blow it now,” Horgan said. “We need to focus on individual responsibility for the greater good.”

Horgan said the B.C. government is working on ways to provide further relief for restaurant, pub and other hospitality employees who will be pushed out of work for the three-week period. Existing programs may be extended if necessary, he said.

Henry said there have been 329 new cases of variants confirmed by testing since Friday, part of a total of more than 2,500 cases recorded over the weekend. B.C.’s daily case count grew rapidly over the past week, surpassing 900 on Friday, including 140 of the U.K., South Africa and Brazil variants being tracked by public health.

Religious services were allowed to restart with strict limits last week with the arrival of Easter, Passover and other major traditions, but that is also reversed.

Henry also confirmed a federal decision to suspend use of AstraZeneca vaccine for people under age 55 for “a few days” while further study information is obtained from the manufacturer. There have been reports of adverse effects in younger people, but Henry said it is a rare event and it is unlikely Canada will see any cases.

Henry said B.C. has “very little” AstraZeneca left at the moment, but is expecting a shipment from the U.S. in the days ahead.

RELATED: Canada pauses use of AstraZeneca vaccine for under-55s

RELATED: B.C. reports more than 2,500 more cases over weekend


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

In a feature article published April 10, 2021 in The Times of London, ‘headlined British Columbia has what it takes to rival Napa Valley,’ the valley is praised extensively for its natural beauty and wine. (File photo)
From the U.K. with love: Okanagan wine, scenery receives international praise

The Times of London newspaper recently featured the valley in a wine and travel piece

FILE — In this March 31, 2021 file photo, a nurse fills a syringe with a dose of the Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose COVID-19 vaccine at the Vaxmobile, at the Uniondale Hempstead Senior Center, in Uniondale, N.Y. The U.S. is recommending a “pause” in administration of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots. In a joint statement Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration said it was investigating clots in six women in the days after vaccination, in combination with reduced platelet counts. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)
72 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

This brings the total number of cases in the region to 9,666 since the pandemic began

Fire rips through shop in small South Okanagan town

The building was destroyed despite community efforts to fight the fire

The Save Sickle Point Committee, a grassroots community group, has teamed up Penticton’s Tempest Theatre and Film Society to release short film on Sickle Point. (Contributed)
WATCH: Conservationists release short film on saving ‘precious’ Sickle Point

Sickle Point, the last intact wetland near Skaha Lake, is facing the prospect of development

The municipality of Summerland will develop a code of ethics for municipal staff. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Summerland to develop code of ethics for staff

One-page values document will serve to guide municipal staff

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has restricted indoor dining at all restaurants in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 indoor dining, drinking ban extending into May

Restaurant association says patio rules to be clarified

Marylou Jensen. (Contributed)
Kelowna RCMP searching for missing senior

Marylou Jensen left her Grenfell Road home on foot at 5 p.m.

A dumpster was on fire behind a residential complex in downtown Penticton Tuesday afternoon. (Brennan Phillips Western News)
Dumpster fire extinguished in downtown Penticton

There has been a string of dumpster fires lately

Skogie’s Express Tunnel Wash on Anderson Way in Vernon. (Submitted photo)
Lawsuit dismissed after vehicle damaged while inside Okanagan car wash

Civil Resolution Tribunal dismisses driver’s claim following a collision inside Skogie’s car wash in Vernon

The future of the Eagle Pass Lookout cabin is being discussed. (File photo)
Options presented for future of former Eagle Pass fire lookout in Shuswap

Stakeholders met in 2020 to discuss the restoration, or possible removal of the cabin

(Mayor Cindy Fortin - Peachland)
Peachland mayor declines early vaccination offer

Mayor Cindy Fortin said she wants seniors, immunocompromised individuals to get the shot first

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
Tougher COVID-19 restrictions in B.C., including travel, still ‘on the table’: Horgan

John Horgan says travel restrictions will be discussed Wednesday by the provincial cabinet

Conservation officers caught three men over fishing bull trout in Kinbasket Lake. (Facebook)
B.C. men fined $1.7K for overfishing near Revelstoke, Golden

The seized fish were donated to the Golden Food Bank

NorKam secondary student Karis Wilson in the outfit that got her sent home from school on Feb. 23, 2021. (Kamloops This Week photo)
Clothing that ‘detracts from learning process’ removed from SD73 student dress code

Policy change underway after student in knee-length dress, long-sleeve turtleneck sent home

Most Read