Many British Columbians have been waiting for months to find out when they can gather with people outside their household, outside of just the trusted 10.
And on Tuesday (May 25), they got an answer. The province laid out a four-step plan for getting back to normal as COVID-19 vaccinations rise and cases and hospitalizations drop.
Step 1 – May 25
As of now, outdoor social gatherings will continue to be limited to 10, but indoor social gatherings with up to five visitors or one additional household will also now be allowed.
In terms of organized gatherings, indoor ones of up to 10 people seated or 50 people seated outdoors (with a COVID safety plan in place) will be allowed as of today. Health officials will also work with faith leaders to bring back in-person worship services.
Step 2 – June 15
Step two, which is tentatively scheduled to begin on June 15 (once 65 per cent of B.C. is vaccinated, and if hospitalizations drop) will allow for outdoor social gatherings of up to 50 people and playdates, but indoor gatherings will stay capped at five visitors or one additional household.
For organized gatherings, indoor ones of up to 50 people seated will be allowed indoors (with a COVID safety plan), while the province will begin to consult with various sectors about larger organized outdoor gatherings.
Step 3 – July 1
The third step of B.C. reopening plan will see a “return to usual for indoor or outdoor personal gatherings” and allow for sleepovers, as long as 70 per cent of B.C. is vaccinated, and if hospitalizations continue to drop. The forecast for organized gatherings is less clear; government documents only state that fairs and festivals will be allowed and “increased capacity” will be in place for indoor and outdoor organized gatherings. Both will require COVID safety plan.
July 1 is also the date when masks may become simply recommended, and not mandated as they have been in B.C. since the fall.
Step 4 – Sept. 7
If vaccination rates hit 70 per cent of eligible individuals, social gatherings will return to normal and large organized events can resume if cases and hospitalizations continue to drop.
BREAKING: Here's the province's restart plan for social and organized gatherings this summer as #COVID19 vaccination rates increase and cases + hospitalizations decrease. @BlackPressMedia pic.twitter.com/dxZxRLFlg5— Kat Slepian (@katslepian) May 25, 2021