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No gatherings for households with unvaccinated people in them under new B.C. restrictions


The new restrictions on gatherings announced in B.C. on Friday include an outright ban on parties and other informal events if unvaccinated people are on the guest list.

During Friday's announcement, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the new rules mean households that include unvaccinated people cannot host parties or other gatherings.

"If you are unvaccinated or have members of your family who are unvaccinated, we cannot have personal gatherings in those settings right now," Henry said.

The new restrictions take effect at midnight on Monday. They limit personal gatherings to one household plus 10 people or one other household, and only if everyone involved in the gathering aged 12 or older is vaccinated.

The province also announced capacity limits for large events and restrictions on movements within restaurants, among other things. More details on the announcement can be found here

It was unclear Friday how the province intended to enforce the restriction on gatherings involving unvaccinated people, particularly given the antagonistic relationship some opponents of vaccination and mask mandates have to COVID-19-related restrictions.

Asked about the difficulty of enforcement, Henry said the new rules are intended to provide support to people who have unvaccinated friends or relatives and are trying to do the right thing.

"What I'm hearing very clearly from people is they want direction about how to do this in the best way that they can," Henry said. "The number 10 is about having a manageable group and making sure that people are vaccinated, and this is to support people to have those conversations (about vaccination status)."

She said people hosting gatherings should ask prospective attendees in advance about their vaccination status, using the vaccinated-only invitation as an opportunity to broach an otherwise sensitive topic.

The provincial health officer did not say anything about legal consequences for hosts or attendees of gatherings involving unvaccinated people.

Earlier this year, when the province was still under a COVID-19-related state of emergency, police agencies were empowered to issue tickets and fines to those found to be violating public health orders.

When the state of emergency ended, fines under the Emergency Program Act stopped, but some non-compliant events have continued to face penalties

Most of the fines issued under the Emergency Program Act had gone unpaid as of the end of the state of emergency. 

This is a developing story and will be updated Top Stories

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