Will B.C.'s COVID-19 'circuit-breaker' restrictions be extended beyond April 19?
VANCOUVER -- Monday, April 12, marks two weeks since B.C. health officials introduced so-called "circuit-breaker" restrictions: new rules banning indoor dining, religious gatherings and group fitness activities until April 19.
Since the measures were put in place, case numbers have continued to climb. On Friday, B.C. recorded 1,262 new cases.
Two weeks is the incubation period for the virus and generally considered the length of time needed to see if restrictions have had an impact.
Dr. Anna Wolak, a Vancouver physician, believes that may not be the case this time.
“The 19th is too early to see any changes, I think it does need to be extended a bit further,” she told CTV News Vancouver on Sunday. “We are seeing more and more evidence that COVID is aerosol, it’s spread by aerosol, so the indoor spaces are dangerous spaces at the moment.”
That’s not the news those in the hospitality industry want to hear.
Jeff Guignard is the executive director of Alliance of Beverage Licensees (ABLE BC). He says banning indoor dining has had a “devastating financial impact.”
“Our industry has lost a few hundred million dollars in sales and 120,000 workers have either been laid off or had their hours reduced,” Guignard said.
He believes the chances of restrictions being extended is “50/50” and hopes businesses will get as much notice as possible.
“All we can say is it’s vitally important that Dr Henry and her team give our industry sufficient notice,” he said. “If we don’t know by noon Friday, people are going to be placing keg beer orders that get delivered Tuesday and that’ll be thousands of dollars of inventory we won’t be able to use.”
Health officials have not yet indicated whether restrictions will be lifted on April 19, or extended. B.C.’s health minister did address rumours such as this claim on TikTok that B.C. is headed for a stricter lockdown, similar to Ontario’s.
On Saturday, Adrian Dix was asked if the province was planning to announce stricter measures this week. He answered succinctly: “No.”