Regional health orders could mean stricter and longer restrictions to come

New cases in B.C. have been on a steep rise since mid-September showing few signs of stopping

(Kristen Frier)

Citizens under the Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health authorities have been ordered to reduce travel and social interactions to try to quell the quickly growing number of COVID-19 cases. The regional health orders will be in place until Nov. 23.

Affecting communities in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley, the orders are targeting the top two health authorities with the most cases in the province: Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Valley Health regions. The only exemptions are Bella Coola Valley and the Central Coast Regional District.

We’ve been told to socialize only within our core bubble, defined in the order as the “people you spend the most time with and are physically close to.”

For most, this means our immediate households but could extend to partners, family, or friends you see regularly. Social gatherings with anyone outside of your core bubble are to be suspended.

Weddings and funerals are permitted with your immediate household attending, but larger receptions at any location are not allowed.

Restaurants are still allowed to operate with safety protocols in place, but you should only be dining in if it’s with your core bubble with no more than six at a table.

Going to the movies, getting your nails done, and having house repairs done are among the activities still permitted.

Indoor group physical activities like yoga, spin, and dance classes have been suspended. Contact sports are also suspended.

Workplaces have been instructed to review and strengthen their COVID-19 safety plans, to screen their employees daily before coming in, and to consider working from home if that can be done.

Travel in and out of these health authority areas should only be for essential purposes.

Over the weekend before Nov. 16, 1,959 people in B.C were newly diagnosed with COVID-19, putting us at a total of 6,279 active cases with 181 in the hospital according to Provincial Health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Minister of Health Adrian Dix.

The hope is that our two-week hiatus from seeing friends and family outside of our households will stop the steep increase of case numbers in B.C.

For me, not much will change in my life over these two weeks. I will continue to frantically work away at finishing the semester from my desk crammed into my bedroom. I don’t frequently hang out with others outside of my household minus my best friend, but we are now on the two-week stretch of staying apart.

Seemingly, those most affected by these two-week orders would be those used to seeing people outside of their immediate household. For those living alone, especially if working from home, these two weeks could be particularly isolating — even with the allowance of one or two people outside of their household.

And significantly, these orders could be subject to change, meaning they could be lengthened or made stricter if these two weeks don’t give the results health officials seem to be hoping for.

It’s hard to imagine that anything will drastically change within the timeframe of a single incubation period for the virus.

Could this be the gentle ease back into strict COVID-19 restrictions? I suppose only time will tell.


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