BC Gathering Restrictions Limited to Household Plus 6 Others: Health Official

November 9, 2020 Updated: November 9, 2020

British Columbia’s Ministry of Health elaborated on the latest social gathering restrictions announced on Nov. 7, saying that people can only interact with their household members and a maximum of six others.

The Nov. 6 announcements made by Dr. Bonnie Henry, the B.C. provincial health officer, apply to the Vancouver Coastal Health and the Fraser Health regions.

“By order of the Provincial Health Officer (PHO), all households in the Interior Health, Island Health and Northern Health regions must limit gatherings to no more than your immediate household (people living at a home) plus a maximum of six others,” said a statement on the B.C. government website.

The “six-person” limitation applies to people of all ages and to all indoor and outdoor gatherings.

Some questions were raised over the definition of “immediate household,” and the Ministry later gave more details on the website, stating that a household refers to a “group of people who live in the same dwelling.” People living in an apartment or a house are considered members of the same household, while a rental suite built in a home is seen as a separate household.

The Province of Manitoba extended a province-wide state of emergency on Nov. 6, and the province’s chief public health officer issued a new COVID-19 prevention order on Nov. 9, banning all gatherings of more than five people.

Several provinces, however, are taking steps to ease the restrictions.

Ontario’s modified stage 2 restrictions is set to last until Nov. 14, and some degree of relaxation is expected.

“People still need other people, so it’s extremely important like we strike, as the primer said, a balance that allows people to maintain at the least, as much as possible, a routine, and provide them with the support they need,” said Michael Tibollo, the province’s minister of Mental Health and Addictions, in a media briefing on Nov. 9.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney also refused to go into lockdown, instead urging the need to strike a balance.

“What you describe as a lockdown, first constitutes a massive invasion of the exercise of people’s fundamental rights and a massive impact on their, not only their personal liberties, but their ability to put food on the table, to sustain themselves financially that has huge downstream effects,” said Kenney in a Nov. 6. video published on Facebook.

“A lockdown would be devastating. It would inflict untold damage on the economic, social, and mental health of millions of Albertans. Our objective is not to bring COVID cases down to zero—it’s to manage the spread carefully so that we can protect both peoples’ lives AND livelihoods,” Kenney wrote in the post.