FILE – British Columbia provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry listens during a news conference regarding the novel coronavirus COVID-19, in Vancouver, on Saturday, March 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

B.C. bans all gatherings of 50+ people to slow COVID-19 transmission

Ban tightens earlier order to reduce to under 250 people

The province has tightened a ban on large gatherings to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said on Monday all gatherings of 50 or more people must be cancelled. Last week, Henry had called on all events and gatherings with more than 250 people to shut down.

“That’s aligned with what we’re seeing in the United States,” Henry said. The ban echoes U.S. Centre for Disease Control recommendations made in recent days.

Henry said she was enthused to see the businesses switching to takeout, delivery and drive-thru service and municipalities that had proactively shut down community facilities.

“This is going to be really important for us for the coming weeks,” Henry said.

“This is not forever but it is important for now.”

Henry acknowledged the ban on large gatherings would be tough for the food industry.

“I would expect most bars and entertainment centres will not be able to meet that criteria,” she said.

Restaurants and cafes could, Henry said, maintain separation or move towards more takeout options.

“It’s going to be hard on businesses, it’s going to be hard on people to not be able to congregate… and have those special moments together,” she said.

READ MORE: Canada to close borders to outsiders, except North Americans, trade to slow spread of COVID-19

READ MORE: Three more COVID-19 deaths at B.C. care home, 30 new cases

More to come.


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