Although B.C.’s Ministry of Health sent out a bulletin Oct. 19 about the lifting of COVID-19 capacity limits, it’s doubtful changes will be taking place locally on Oct. 25.
At issue now is the difference between the provincial requirements and those in place for some regional health authorities such as Interior Health (IH).
The news release from the office of the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) said that on Sunday, Oct. 24, full vaccination for everyone born in 2009 or earlier (12 years and older) and presentation of their BC Vaccine Card will be required to access certain events, services and businesses.
“On Monday, Oct. 25, more people will be able to come together at organized gatherings and events in parts of the province where vaccination rates are high. The provincial health officer order restricting capacity limits to 50% for inside organized events and gatherings will be revised to allow 100% capacity in those settings where the BC Vaccine Card is in place and proof of vaccination status is checked,” stated the news release.
The changes would apply to: indoor sporting events; indoor concerts, theatre, movie theatres, dance and symphony events; and indoor organized events such as weddings, funeral receptions outside of a funeral home and organized parties.
However, it also stated: “Capacity limits remain in effect where regional orders are in place, including Fraser East and parts of Northern and Interior Health regions.”
David Knight, arena manager with Salmon Arm Recreation, said staff are waiting for clarification because of the IH orders.
“Until those orders are lifted or clarified, we will be continuing with the current restriction of 50 per cent capacity or 50 people for indoor events,” he said.
Joel de Boer, general manager of Salmar Cinemas, said he was really excited when he heard the announcement to go to full capacity with double vaccinations. But it was not to be.
“Right now Interior Health orders supersede the others,” he said.
So the Salmar Classic and the Grand will be sticking with 50 people or 50 per cent of capacity, whichever is greater, and the requirement of a vaccine passport. De Boer said it’s expected the restrictions will stay until Interior Health is happy with the COVID-19 numbers; the regions with higher numbers are the ones where the restrictions are more stringent.
He said having the two sets of regulations – the province’s and Interior Health’s – is frustrating because people are angry when they’ve seen the provincial regulations and then find they’re not in effect.
“You get a lot of angry people and it’s frustrating for us operating a business when there are the two orders.”
He wishes that when the provincial orders are shown online there would be a notice to click on Interior Health.
“I get the regulations thrown in my face all the time,” he said.
Theatres had a choice to go with 50 people and under along with contact tracing, so the Salmar Cinemas tried that. Accusations came fast and furious about endangering the town by letting unvaccinated people go to the movies, he said.
Then they tried the other way, 50 and up with vaccine cards. That prompted an influx of rage about being fascists.
“I’ll be very happy when COVID is done, if it’s ever done,” he said.
To see the Interior Health regulations, go to https://news.interiorhealth.ca/news/provincial-and-regional-restrictions/
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