'Small gatherings' possible by July if COVID-19 cases keep going down, B.C.'s top doctor says
VANCOUVER -- As B.C.'s daily case counts continue to fall, the province's top doctor says officials are looking ahead to when restrictions might start to slowly lift.
Dr. Bonnie Henry spoke about the current restrictions during her COVID-19 briefing Thursday, saying locals shouldn't expect any significant changes in the near future.
"We will not be seeing any changes to the measures we have in place right now until after the May long weekend," she said. "And even then, it's not going to be flicking the switch, it's going to be gradually and slowly increasing the light."
Henry said those gradual changes will be similar to what B.C. saw last year, based on risk and up-to-date case counts.
"If things continue to go in the right direction, then by the time we get to our July long weekend, we should be able to do even more in terms of having small gatherings," Henry said.
"We think back to last summer, how we were able to do that successfully and safely. So people planning weddings and things like that, we still will have the need to be cautious through a period of time, making sure that we are keeping the virus down."
The top doctor has previously said large summer events are off the table, leading to the cancellation of the Celebration of Light fireworks, the annual Pride parade and the PNE.
"We won't get to the bottom of our infection curve until we get to a much higher immunization rate," Henry said.
B.C.'s case update saw the province's seven-day rolling average dip again, falling below 600 for the first time since March 21. As well, the province surpassed the 50 per cent mark this week in terms of first doses of COVID-19 vaccines administered to the eligible adult population.
But while the province has been trending in the right direction in recent weeks, Henry said there is still "a lot" of COVID-19 circulating in B.C.
"This virus has taught us that we cannot be complacent," Henry said.