Omicron cancels New Years and places limits on social activities in British Columbia | iINFOnews

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December 17, 2021 – 1:07 PM

With cases of COVID-19 with the Omicron variant increasing to around 360 today, December 17, from 159 yesterday, new health restrictions will be imposed across British Columbia starting Monday morning at 12:01 am.

The new restrictions include limiting the number of people during personal events inside your household and up to 10 additional people, or one household, as most new cases are in young people, usually vaccinated during events like parties. Most of the cases are in large urban centers in the Lower Mainland, health officials said in a technical briefing today.

Everyone at these personal gatherings should be vaccinated.

All New Year’s events are canceled, although New Year’s dinners are still allowed in restaurants.

There are no limits on how late restaurants can stay open or on how alcohol can be served late, as was imposed earlier in the pandemic. Everyone must be vaccinated, masked when not seated at their table and they will not be able to mingle with people at other tables. High-risk activities, such as dancing, continue to be prohibited.

Organized events will have limits, so that venues with 1,000 seats or more may only be at 50% of their capacity.

Currently, events of 50 people or less were allowed to be attended by unvaccinated people. It ends on Monday so everyone will need their vaccination passport.

Since Omicron spread to sporting events, all sporting tournaments and associated trips are now canceled.

Religious gatherings continue to demand that everyone be masked. They can be at 100% of their capacity if everyone is vaccinated and at 50% of their capacity if they allow unvaccinated people to attend.

READ MORE: Overworked Interior Health hospitals continue to lead B.C. in postponed surgeries

The new rules will be in place until January 31 at 11:59 p.m.

It has been pointed out that Omicron is now the dominant COVID variant in Ontario, and British Columbia is probably about a week behind Ontario, so the number of cases will increase here.

No one has yet been hospitalized with the Omicron variant in British Columbia. It appears the Omicron is either less deadly than the Delta variant, or vaccinations can prevent serious illness, health officials said.

The rapidly evolving situation with Omicron means that the growth of cases will be closely monitored to see if any changes need to be made. Currently, the virus is mainly spread during large social gatherings where people do not wear masks, which is why tighter restrictions on places like restaurants are not being imposed.

To learn more about the Provincial Health Officer’s Orders and Advice, click here.

To learn more about regional restrictions by the health authority, click here.

– This story was updated at 2:25 p.m. on Friday, December 17, 2021 to add more details on the restrictions.

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Joel C. Hicks