VANCOUVER -- When B.C. expanded sweeping new COVID-19 restrictions including those limiting social gatherings, there was one potential visitor the province forgot to account for.

As of last week, residents of the province are not permitted to socialize with anyone outside of their immediate household or core bubble.

The news left many with questions about who counts as part of their core bubble.

Among those pondering the new rules was Mackenzie Hodges, age 7, from Penticton.

Seeking answers, Mackenzie pulled out a piece of lined paper and a pencil and went straight to the top.

No doubt acting as a representative for several children in B.C. who were wondering the same thing, Mackenzie asked the hard questions.

"To Premier Horgan," the child wrote in a letter that was later posted on the premier's Instagram account.

"I want to stay safe during COVID but is our Elf on the Shelf allowed to visit our house? Can you please ask Dr. Bonnie (Henry) if it is OK?"

Perhaps trying to garner sympathy by putting a face to the issue, Mackenzie included a drawing of the family's elf, named Ralph. The elf's eyes are wide and sparkling, and his smile may be described by some as hopeful.

The premier took the question seriously, and asked provincial health officer Dr. Henry for an answer. Fortunately, he had good news to share.

"Your Elf on the Shelf, Ralph, is most definitely welcome as part of your household bubble," Horgan posted on Instagram.

"Thank you Mackenzie for doing your part to be kind, calm and safe."