People are seen walking along the seawall in English Bay in Vancouver, Monday, May 4, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

People are seen walking along the seawall in English Bay in Vancouver, Monday, May 4, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Keep ‘pandemic bubbles’ small, top doctor urges as B.C. prepares to loosen rules

Many measures will remain in place for months, officials say

B.C.’s top doctor urged the province’s residents to keep their “pandemic bubbles” small on Tuesday (May 5), the day before Premier John Horgan is scheduled to relax some COVID-19 restrictions.

“We are not yet through this,” Dr. Bonnie Henry said. “We are likely at the end of our beginning.”

Henry’s cautious tone came the day after she and Health Minister Adrian Dix released new modelling, which showed that people could eventually double their number of interactions and keep hospitalizations under control. Currently, B.C. is at 30 per cent of usual interactions.

“Don’t start planning your playdates and expanding your bubbles too soon. The orders and restrictions we have put in place are still in place.”

Measures that are, and will remain, key include washing hands frequently, maintaining physical distancing, staying home when sick and taking advantage of the warm weather by going outside, where COVID-19 is less likely to spread. Henry has said in the past that large gatherings are not happening in B.C. this summer and urged people to plan smaller events.

Henry said British Columbians could “consider the use of non-medical masks when physical distancing is not an option.”

Dix said 2020 could be the “summer of renewal” for B.C. as long as people continue to follow the rules.

But it will not be a “normal” summer, Henry said.

“We cannot afford right now to go back to the way we were in December. We’re going to have to be closer to home, find our joy and our fun in our own neighbourhoods.”

Exactly what restrictions will be loosened will be revealed by Horgan Wednesday, but Dix said B.C.’s reopening will not be as dramatic as that in Quebec in Ontario because many businesses here were never closed to begin with.

READ MORE: B.C. sees 8 new COVID-19 cases, 4 more deaths

READ MORE: Officials say B.C. could eventually double interactions without causing new COVID-19 surge

READ MORE: B.C. records 170 ‘excess deaths’ so far during COVID-19 pandemic


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Commercial Street and other areas of Nanaimo’s downtown are now part of a new business improvement area following a petition-against process this spring. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: BIA process wasn’t fair to small business

Mom-and-pop shops will be challenged to pay the levy during hard times, says letter writer

Nanaimo RCMP report that a number of scams, many of them familiar, have recently resurfaced in Nanaimo and cost victims thousands of dollars. (File photo)
Nanaimo man scammed after lending money and receiving fake gold jewelry in return

RCMP provide details of several recent scams to warn the public

A memorial to former Abbotsford and RCMP police officer Shinder Kirk in Cedar, B.C. Kirk died in a car accident on Cedar Road in December 2018. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Trial begins in Nanaimo for man involved in car crash that killed retired police sergeant

RCMP accident reconstructionist takes stand in trial of Conrad Nikolaus Wetten

Next week Nanaimo singer Laura Kelsey is releasing her new single A Foolish Thing and its accompanying music video. (Video still courtesy Greg Nuspel)
Nanaimo singer joined by wolf, dancers in new music video

‘A Foolish Thing’ is Laura Kelsey’s first professionally made single in seven years

B.C. Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Sheila Malcolmson announces an app that is intended to connect children and youths with mental health and addictions services. (B.C. Government image/Flickr)
5 years in the making: Mental health app for youths launches in B.C.

The province provided $1.6 million to fund virtual care platform

B.C. Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Sheila Malcolmson announces an app that is intended to connect children and youths with mental health and addictions services. (B.C. Government image/Flickr)
5 years in the making: Mental health app for youths launches in B.C.

The province provided $1.6 million to fund virtual care platform

Police were on the scene of a fatal shooting in Abbotsford. (Black Press Media files)
B.C. government to give more than $8 million for programs to curb gang violence

221 not-for-profit projects led by local governments and school districts among others will receive a one-time grant

Gord Judson steers his log truck down a forest service road, using two-way radio and call signals to mark his position for oncoming traffic. (B.C. Forest Safety Council)
Planning some B.C. wilderness fishing? Don’t catch a log truck

Remote recreation areas bracing for heavy pandemic pressure

Former University of British Columbia student Stephanie Hale, 22. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff Bassett
Human Rights Tribunal to hear complaint against UBC Okanagan for ‘mishandling’ sexual assault report

Stephanie Hale did not return to campus after the student she alleges attacked her was cleared of wrongdoing

Jennifer Coffman, owner of Truffle Pigs in Field, B.C., poses beside her business sign on Thursday, May 6, 2021, in this handout photo. Her restaurant and lodge have been hit hard by a closure of a section of the Trans-Canada Highway and by the British Columbia government discouraging Alberta residents from visiting during the pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Jennifer Coffman, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
‘Why we survive’: B.C. boundary towns struggle without Albertans during pandemic

Jennifer Coffman’s restaurant is located in the tiny community of Field, which relies on tourism

NEW CUTLINE Payphone use is declining dramatically. (Black Press Files)

This payphone sits just east of TD Bank in Parksville, on Harrison Avenue. (Emily Vance photo)
Last call approaches for Vancouver Island payphones?

Some payphones don’t get used for days as mobile phones diminishing need

Garden centre manager Jack Olszewski and Chris Beaudoin say business has grown by 50 per cent at the Sooke Home Hardware Store. (Rick Stiebel - Sooke News Mirror)
Flower power: COVID restrictions fuel bloom boom on Vancouver Island’

More people seeking flowers to add colour, says Sooke landscaper

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Ladysmith RCMP safely escorted the black bear to the woods near Ladysmith Cemetary. (Town of Ladysmith/Facebook photo)
Black bear tranquillized, relocated after wandering around residential Ladysmith

A juvenile black bear was spotted near 2nd Avenue earlier Friday morning

Most Read