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Reality check: Can I have just a couple guests over? Is it OK to meet at the park?
VANCOUVER -- As people adjust to life under the COVID-19 pandemic, many are looking for ways to maintain a sense of normalcy while observing the physical distancing required to ward off the virus.
Some have convinced themselves it's OK to meet friends for a walk in the park, or have just a couple guests over to their home.
Sadly, that is not the case, as B.C.'s provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry made clear on Wednesday. Henry, who has helped battle SARS, polio and Ebola at different points in her career, said avoiding those kinds of unnecessary face-to-face social interactions is an important part of limiting the spread of COVID-19.
"Small groups, even two or three, can sometimes be that transmission point," Henry said in her daily virus briefing. "We're talking about gatherings, about having people over to your home, about gathering in the park – these are things that right now we can't be doing."
Whether inside or outside, trying to maintain the recommended two-metre distance from others is much harder than some people might think – as CTV Consumer Reporter Ross McLaughlin learned after going out with a two-metre pole this week.
And while provincial health officials have not issued an order banning groups of fewer than 50 people, Dr. Henry said everyone needs to understand that it's crucial to minimize group contact at this stage in the pandemic.
That means delaying or cancelling in-person social engagements, including major celebrations and ceremonies.
"I recognize that when we're in a crisis, when communities are in crisis, having celebrations and having ceremonies is our way of helping to cope," Henry said. "But they are also times when we may expose those who are most vulnerable in our community – our elders, our seniors, people who have more at risk because of their underlying medical conditions."