B.C. residents are as little as a week away from returning to high-intensity group workouts and the sidelines of outdoor sports events, as the province’s COVID-19 vaccination program and declining infection are on track for the second stage of restart as soon as June 15.
Step two of the restart plan also includes returning to small office meetings, with similar distance and gathering safety measures that apply to gyms, playing fields, restaurants, retail and schools. Next week is crucial for tourism businesses, with the return of province-wide travel, accommodation and liquor sales extended to midnight again.
With nearly 75 per cent of the adult population vaccinated and children aged 12 and up receiving shots, June 15 is the date for outdoor personal gatherings of up to 50 people for birthday parties, barbecues and spectators at outdoor sporting events. The limit is also up to 50 people for indoor organized gatherings with safety plans, including religious services.
Step two also allows a limited-capacity return of banquet halls, which were a source of transmission risk from the social events they hosted earlier in the pandemic.
Indoor high-intensity group exercise such as spin classes are expected to restart, but no indoor spectators are allowed until B.C.’s step three, which begins July 1 at the earliest as COVID-19 transmission and illness stay low.
Step three also includes a return to fairs and festivals, recreational travel across Canada, increased capacity for indoor fitness, reopening of bingo halls and casinos with capacity limits, and larger seminars and business meetings. The public health advice on masks moves from mandatory indoors to recommended as of July 1, meaning businesses and other indoor spaces can set their own mask policy based on their safety plans.