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

This Earth Day, Cowichan Valley residents are being asked to clean up where they are. (File photo)
Cowichan ‘Clean Where You Are’ campaign starts on Earth Day

Take a bag, one glove, long tongs, and go pick up!

City of Duncan considering an average 3.51 per cent tax increase for 2021. (File photo)
Duncan considers average 3.51% tax increase for 2021

Homeowners would see a $43 increase over last year

North Cowichan councillor Kate Marsh. (File photo)
North Cowichan postpones decision on cell tower placement

But cell tower policy may be developed soon

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery spending

Pandemic-year deficit $5 billion lower than forecast

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks at a press conference Monday, April 18. (B.C. Government image)
New COVID-19 cases tick down on the central Island

New cases held to single digits three days in a row

FILE – NDP Leader John Horgan, right, and local candidate Mike Farnworth greet one another with an elbow bump during a campaign stop in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday, September 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. won’t be using random individual road stops to enforce travel rules: Safety Minister

Minister Mike Farnworth says travel checks only being considered at major highway junctions, ferry ports

A man pauses at a coffin after carrying it during a memorial march to remember victims of overdose deaths in Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. announces historic half-billion-dollar funding for overdose crisis, mental health

Of it, $152 million will be used to address the opioid crisis and see the creation of 195 new substance use treatment beds

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Children’s backpacks and shoes are seen at a CEFA (Core Education and Fine Arts) Early Learning daycare franchise, in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. budget to expand $10-a-day child care, but misses the mark on ‘truly universal’ system

$111 million will be used to fund 3,750 new $10-a-day spaces though 75 additional ChildCareBC universal prototype sites over the next three years.

Mak Parhar speaks at an anti-mask rally outside the Vancouver Art Gallery on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020. Parhar was arrested on Nov. 2 and charged with allegedly violating the Quarantine Act after returning from a Flat Earth conference held in Geenville, South Carolina on Oct. 24. (Flat Earth Focker/YouTube.com screenshot)
Judge tosses lawsuit of B.C. COVID-denier who broke quarantine after Flat Earth conference

Mak Parhar accused gov, police of trespass, malfeasance, extortion, terrorism, kidnapping and fraud

Ambulance paramedic in full protective gear works outside Lion’s Gate Hospital, March 23, 2020. Hospitals are seeing record numbers of COVID-19 patients more than a year into the pandemic. (The Canadian Press)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate declines, 849 cases Tuesday

Up to 456 people now in hospital, 148 in intensive care

Christy Clark, who was premier from 2011 to 2017, is the first of several present and past politicians to appear this month before the Cullen Commission, which is investigating the causes and impact of B.C.’s money-laundering problem over the past decade. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)
Christy Clark says she first learned of money-laundering spike in 2015

The former B.C. premier testified Tuesday she was concerned the problem was ‘apparently at an all-time high’

Most Read