B.C. loosening restrictions on outdoor gatherings ahead of March break

No changes to restrictions on indoor gatherings

parklet kruyt
Photo: Rob Kruyt

B.C.’s top doctor says groups of up to 10 people will be able to gather outdoors effective immediately.

Those hoping to gather inside with groups beyond their own family bubbles will have to wait, though.

“This is slowly turning the dial, not flicking the switch,” Dr. Bonnie Henry said during a Thursday briefing.

After sharing the latest order from the office of the provincial health officer, Henry urged British Columbians to find activities to do outdoors as the weather warms up.

“Don’t ask your favourite restaurants to have a special event for you. Those are the types of situations that lead to transmission,” Henry said.

“We need to find ways to have those connections, especially for children or young people, over the next couple of weeks that are outside.”

She said there was “nothing scientific” about the number 10, only that it’s a small enough group that everyone would know who each other is and could include two small families.

Henry also revealed that restaurants and pubs would be facing additional restrictions on St. Patrick’s Day.

Sales of alcohol will be suspended from 8 p.m. March 17 through to 9 a.m. March 18 for consumption both on-site and off-site.

But Henry said there will be some “caveats” around meal provisions and how late bars and restaurants can stay open after the early last call.

“That is really to protect the people who work in those businesses as well as make sure that we don’t have an explosive increase in cases,” she said. 

The province came under fire in the lead-up to New Year’s Eve when it suspended liquor sales at 8 p.m. with only a day’s notice.