In response to a steady increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in the Vancouver Coast Health and Fraser Health regions, British Columbia’s Provincial Health Officer has imposed targeted orders that will affect both individuals and businesses.
Effective from 10:00 pm Saturday, November 7, 2020 to 12:00 pm Monday November 23, 2020 (the “Restricted Period”) individuals and businesses in these health regions must significantly reduce social interactions and travel, which should be limited to essential travel in and out of the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley.
During the Restricted Period, individuals are not permitted to have non-residents inside or outside of their homes. These restrictions are subject to certain exceptions, including:
- For individuals who work in their private residence and it is necessary to have another person in their residence for work purposes;
- For the provision of services which can only be provided in-person;
- Where the presence of another person is necessary to facilitate the visit of a child with a parent or guardian with whom the child does not reside; and
- Where an individual resides alone.
Individuals must limit social interactions to only those in their immediate household or core bubble(immediate family or those who live in the same dwelling), or if living alone, to a maximum of two other safe individuals with whom they regularly interact, and if at a residence at the same time, who regularly interact with each other. The restrictions apply to not only visits within the home, but also to gatherings outside of the home and at restaurants. Funerals and weddings may only proceed with members of an immediate household and receptions are prohibited, regardless of earlier province-wide orders permitting events with fewer than 50 people where social distancing may be maintained.
With respect to businesses:
- Businesses, recreation centres or other organizations that organize or operate indoor group physical activities (including spin classes, yoga, group fitness, dance, or any other group activity that increases respiratory rate but excluding rehabilitation or exercise therapy programs) must suspend such activities;
- Indoor sports (such as boxing, martial arts, hockey, volleyball, or basketball) where physical distancing cannot be maintained must be suspended;
- No person may attend as a spectator at an indoor sport activity unless attendance is necessary to provide care to a participant;
- No person may travel outside of the Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health regions for any sport-related activity, subject to some exceptions for designated high performance athletes affiliated with an accredited provincial or national sports organization;
- All businesses and worksites must conduct active daily in-person screening of all onsite workers using the COVID-19 symptom check list that should be part of a businesses’ existing safety plan. If an employer has any doubt about a worker’s compliance with the screening the employer must not permit the worker to enter the workplace;
- All business and worksites should encourage workers to work remotely if feasible, unless the employer or work prefers for the worker to work at the workplace;
- Workplaces must ensure that all workers and customers maintain appropriate distance and wear masks when appropriate. . COVID-19 Safety Plan measures must prevent workers from crowding together or congregating in higher risk spaces, including elevators, lobbies, stairwells, corridors, bathrooms, break rooms and kitchens.; and
- Party buses and group limousines are prohibited from operating.
Indoor group activities will only be permitted to resume when the business in question has updated its COVID-19 safety plan to comply with guidelines of the Provincial Health Officer and, in a departure from previous practice, received plan approval from their local Municipal Health Officer. Similarly, party buses and group limousines may only resume operations at the discretion of the Provincial Health Officer.
All businesses in these and other regions should review their existing COVID-19 safety plans and practices (discussed here) for efficacy and should be prepared for a possible increase in inspections by WorkSafeBC, public health and other agencies.
Vancouver Coast Health and Fraser Health include the following communities:
- Howe Sound
- Lions Bay
- Maple Ridge
- New Westminster
- North Vancouver
- Pitt Meadows
- Port Coquitlam
- Port Moody
- Powell River
- Sunshine Coast Regional District
- West Vancouver
- White Rock
The Central Coast Regional District and Bella Coola Valley are exempt from the order.
The full Government of British Columbia Press Release may be accessed here.
We will continue to monitor and provide updates as soon as they become available. The COVID-19 situation is rapidly evolving with new measures being adopted or modified at both the federal and provincial level. For further information, please consult our Coronavirus Resource Centre or feel free to contact any member of our DLA Piper Canadian Employment and Labour Law Service Group, who will ensure that you are acting upon the most up-to-date information.
*Updated November 13, 2020 to reflect the Provincial Health Officers written order of November 11, 2020.
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