New COVID-19 rules: Regional health order issued for Fraser East local health area
B.C. health officials have announced a new regional health order for the local health area of Fraser East.
This order is in effect as of Tuesday, the province's top doctor announced at a news conference in Vancouver.
Similar to the approach taken in B.C.'s Interior Health Authority, new restrictions in the LHA will include limits to private gatherings and organized events, both indoors and outdoors, unless all participants are fully vaccinated.
According to provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, the LHA that includes Chilliwack, Hope, Abbotsford, Mission and Agassiz-Harrison is being targeted due to a combination of lower vaccination rates and higher transmission of COVID-19.
View the boundaries of Fraser East on a map from the province.
Indoor household gatherings are limited to five additional people or one additional household, the doctor said. Up to 10 people, in addition to those living at the home, can gather outdoors, unless everyone is fully vaccinated.
"This is where we know that if we are coming together, particularly indoors, where this transmission can happen very quickly and rapidly with the Delta (variant) that we're seeing transmitted right now, we can mitigate that by being fully vaccinated," Henry said.
Organized gatherings, such as weddings and conferences, held in the Fraser East LHA are now limited to 10 people inside, or 50 outside, unless all participants are fully vaccinated.
Provincially, attendees of events that require vaccination currently only need to have the first dose in B.C. They won't be required to have both until Oct. 26.
In Fraser East, that two-dose deadline is being moved up and is in effect immediately.
This applies to ticketed events too, including concerts, movies and sporting events, as well as gyms, fitness classes and more.
Organizers of these events now need to keep a contact list of all attendees.
Outdoor adult sports are now limited to 50 participants unless every person is fully vaccinated. Proof will be through their B.C. Vaccine Cards.
Henry said transmission in indoor workplaces has been a concern in the eastern Fraser Valley, and businesses will need to update their COVID-19 safety plans to include the requirement that masks must be worn indoors, with some exemptions (including that workers are behind a barrier or in a room by themselves) and safety considerations.
She did not say how long she believes these restrictions will be in effect in the health area.