By Steve Hubrecht
[email protected]

The provincial government is extending the current ban on social gatherings and events indefinitely.

The ban has been in place since late November, and last week on Friday, Feb. 5, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced it would stay in place, without giving an end date for the ban as she had done in previous similar announcements.

“Right now, we need to stay the path,” said Henry during the announcement adding B.C. needs to “protect” the progress it has made fighting COVID-19 and not “squander” this progress.

The announcement came as health officials confirmed the number of COVID-19 variants cases has jumped in B.C. to 28 on Friday, up from 18 on Monday, Feb. 1.

The provincial health orders mean there should be no social gatherings of any size at your residence with anyone other than your immediate household members or, if you live alone, your core bubble (which if you live alone is a maximum of two people you meet regularly). Do not invite friends or extended family into your residence. Do not gather in your backyard, patio, driveway or anywhere else on your property, and do not host playdates for kids.

You may still go for a walk or hike, but you must make sure a walk or hike does not turn into a group of people meeting outside. Parents can still carpool kids to and from school. Grandparents can still provide child care. Public pools and public skating rinks are allowed to continue to operate with a COVID-19 safety plan, as long as there are no events or gatherings at the pool or rink.

On a local note, a few hours after the announcement, Fairmont Hot Springs Resort posted on its Facebook page that “effective Feb. 5, Bear’s Paw Bar & Grill will temporarily suspend the streaming of live sports events in accordance with the provincial health officer’s restrictions around social gatherings.”