The B.C. government has imposed end dates for COVID-19 orders limiting gathering sizes, banning indoor events and forcing gyms, bars and nightclubs to close – but it’s unclear whether those Some of the restrictions may still be eased too soon.
The province quietly updated the orders on Monday to remove references to restrictions that expire on January 18. Instead, each order now reads that “it does not have an expiration date.”
Health Minister Adrian Dix addressed the change on Twitter on Monday afternoon, writing that because the previous orders were due to expire at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, they had to be extended to ensure that “until Dr. I haven’t spoken, till then they will remain the same.”
However, as of Monday morning, the government’s own website listed orders expiring at 11:59 pm on January 18, from a post dated December 21, 2021.
Dix and Henry are scheduled to appear at a live news conference Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. CTV News will be streaming the event online.
Health officials had previously indicated that measures for gatherings and events would be extended beyond January 18, but indicated that some of the other restrictions currently in force could change.
Orders to close liquor primary bars that do not offer full food service and fitness facilities have been a major blow to many businesses in the province. Many gym owners have spoken out against the shutdown in recent weeks, and many have openly disregarded them by welcoming their customers, despite ongoing concerns about widespread COVID-19 transmission.
While Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced Friday that the government believed the peak of transmission during the omicron wave has passed, based on wastewater monitoring, he cautioned that many more people could die in the coming weeks. Will be sick
The number of hospitalizations – which is a backward indicator, meaning trends follow case numbers after a period of delay – is also expected to continue climbing for some time.
Businesses Await Reply
The start of the new year is usually a busy time for Eastside Fitness in Vancouver, but not this year.
Co-founder Darnell Moore said that typically by this time in January, they’re full of people attending personal training and classes.
“We’ve missed it. We’ve missed that whole lead-up period,” he said. “It’s still going to take a long time to get that ball rolling again.”
Moore said last December’s initial order was surprising.
“Usually, when there’s going to be a change or closure, or something to do with our fitness industry we’re given some warning and heads are up,” she said. “We haven’t heard anything.”
They quickly turned to online offerings, and received a good response. However, Moore said it still wouldn’t be enough to sustain them, and added the provincial grants for which they are eligible account for only one-eighth of their monthly expenses.
“It’s a one-time grant, and it’s based on the amount your employees or contractors have,” she said, adding that they qualify for $5,000 due to their 11-person workforce. “It doesn’t cover our rent too closely.”
Jeff Guignard of the Alliance of Beverage Licensees said nightclubs and bars, which were also forced to close, have missed out on significant New Year’s revenue.
“If we don’t get some good news for those businesses, we’re going to talk to the government about additional financial support,” he said. “Doing a hospitality business has probably never been this hard. So if you have a favorite pub in your neighborhood, you should go out and support them now, because they really need your help.”
Gignard said the most recent restrictions combined with “people’s hesitation around the transmissibility of the Omicron version” meant business across the industry is down about 50 percent.
“We have staff to find out if they’re going to be scheduled for shifts, and we have to find out if we’re ordering inventory,” he said. “So everyone is watching with breath tomorrow.”
Moore hopes the gym closure order will be lifted, and is encouraging people to come back when it happens.
“We’re not super-spreaders … Plus, most gyms I know haven’t had a single exposure event,” she said. “Everybody who comes into our space is at least double-vaccinated. We have a really high standard for cleanliness, for personal space… That’s what I want to tell people, that back to the gym. It’s safe to come.”