With the number of COVID-19 infections steadily declining and 60% of adults receiving their first dose of the vaccine, the Government of British Columbia announced a four-step plan to start reopening the province.

“We have been on a long and tiring journey, and now we can start to chart our path forward to brighter days ahead,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, BC’s Provincial Health Officer. She added that the province will take a “slow and measured” approach to resume activities that have been restricted due to the pandemic.

The plan outlines a gradual return to a more normal life, but safety protocols, like mask wearing and physical distancing, will remain in place during the first two phases.

While Step 1 of the plan went into effect on Tuesday, May 25, the start dates for the subsequent stages have yet to be confirmed. While there are approximate dates, Dr. Henry said data, not dates, will guide the plan, and the next phase will not proceed until it is safe to do so.

“To be successful in this next phase of the pandemic, we need to keep COVID-19 low and slow,” she said. “To do that, we need to be slow and measured in our approach, gradually turning up the dial on how we spend time together – whether that is socializing with family, going to work or visiting friends.”

The four steps are:

Step 1: Starting May 25

  • Maximum of five visitors, or one household, allowed for indoor personal gatherings
  • Maximum of 10 people for outdoor personal gatherings
  • Maximum of 10 people for seated indoor gatherings with safety protocols
  • Maximum of 50 people for seated outdoor organized gatherings with safety protocols
  • Recreational travel only within travel region
  • Indoor and outdoor dining for up to six people with safety protocols
  • Resume outdoor sports games with no spectators, low-intensity fitness with safety protocols
  • Start gradual return to workplaces
  • Return of indoor in-person faith-based gatherings (at reduced capacity)
  • Province-wide mask mandate, business safety protocols and physical distancing measures remain in place

Step 2: Mid-June (June 15 – earliest date)

  • Maximum of 50 people for outdoor social gatherings
  • Maximum 50 people for seated indoor organized gatherings (banquet halls, movie theatres, live theatre) with safety protocols
  • No travel restrictions within BC
  • Indoor sports games and high-intensity fitness with safety protocols
  • Spectators for outdoor sports (50 max)
  • Province-wide mask mandate, business safety protocols and physical distancing measures remain in place

Step 3: Early July (July 1 – earliest date)

  • Provincial state of emergency and public health emergency lifted
  • Return to usual for indoor and outdoor personal gatherings
  • Increased capacity for indoor and outdoor organized gatherings, with safety plans
  • Nightclubs and casinos reopen with limited capacity and safety plans
  • New public health and workplace guidance around personal protective equipment, physical distancing and business protocols

Step 4: Early September (Sept. 7 – earliest date)

  • Returning to normal social contact
  • Increased capacity at larger organized gatherings
  • No limits on indoor and outdoor spectators at sports
  • Businesses operating with new safety plans

Following the advice of Dr. Henry and the BC Ministry of Advanced Education, UCW is preparing for a full return to on-campus learning for the Fall (October) 2021 Term.

Published on May 28, 2021.