New COVID-19 Restrictions for BC

On Monday, March 29, 2021, the Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced a three-week “circuit breaker” to stop the spread of COVID-19 cases, which are at their highest point in the pandemic. New public health orders were announced and Premier John Horgan also issued a plea to people ages 20-39 to follow the public health orders to curb the spread of the virus stating that the most significant increase in cases is in this age group, which marks a shift in those affected by the virus. Echoing these concerns, our partners at Island Health asked us to help them spread the message to redouble our efforts in keeping each other safe so that we might break the chain of COVID-19.

We know this may be hard news to take. But we also know that with ongoing vaccination roll-out and the other layers of protection we will continue to have in place we are moving in the right direction. As well, Dr. Bonnie Henry is confident that we remain on track for a safe re-opening in the fall (Please read Dr. Bonnie Henry’s letter to university presidents as a reminder of the direction from her and the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training about fall plans.).

For now though, please follow all public health orders and take all necessary COVID-19 precautions. For students who find this new information difficult to process, please remember that VIU Counsellors are available.  Employees who need support can access the VIU Employee and Family Assistance Program or reach out to their supervisor.

Thank you for supporting our community by continuing to follow public health guidelines. Together we can flip the switch and break the chain of COVID-19 transmission.

The new restrictions, released by the Government of BC are:

  • For restaurants, bars and pubs, all food and liquor-serving premises must only provide take-out or delivery service. Dine-in service is prohibited, except for outdoor patios. People dining on patios should do so with their immediate household or core bubble.
  • Indoor, adult group fitness activities of any kind are also paused. Gyms and fitness centres are restricted to individual or one-on-one activities only i.e. one-on-one personal training.
  • The previously announced class variance for limited indoor worship services has been suspended. Outdoor worship services under the current variance may continue.
  • Travel continues to be limited to essential travel, work or medical reasons only. For those who have travelled outside their health region, if you or anyone in your family develops any signs of illness, you must stay home from work, school or daycare, and arrange to get tested immediately.
  • Whistler-Blackcomb ski resort is closed through to April 19, 2021, to address and prevent community spread related to non-essential travel.
  • All workers are strongly encouraged to work from home, where possible.
  • Public health guidance for schools has also been amended to support and encourage students down to Grade 4 to wear masks while at school.