After 16 months of COVID-19 restrictions, British Columbia is taking another step closer to returning to normal.

With COVID-19 case counts continuing to decline and more than 75% of adults receiving their first dose of the vaccine, the province is moving to Step 2 of BC’s Restart plan.

Starting June 15, outdoor personal gatherings of up to 50 people are allowed; the ban on non-essential travel within BC is over, and indoor organized seated gatherings of up to 50 people are allowed.

Public safety protocols, such as wearing a mask in all indoor public spaces and physical distancing, remain in place. As well, personal indoor gatherings are limited to five people or one other household.

“Thanks to our collective efforts and commitment to get vaccinated, we are ready to take another step forward in our careful restart,” said BC Premier John Horgan. “This next step means seeing more of the people love, visiting more of our favourite places and safely celebrating the major milestones we’ve missed.

“Better days are in sight, but we must continue to do our part, get vaccinated, keep our layers of protection strong and work together to put this pandemic behind us,” he said.

Step 2 of the reopening plan also means a return of indoor faith gatherings with a maximum of 50 people or 10% of a place of worship’s total capacity, as well as:

  • maximum 50 spectators for outdoor sports;
  • liquor service at restaurants, bars and pubs extended until midnight; and
  • indoor sports games (no spectators) and high-intensity fitness with safety plans.

“The data shows us that with strong safety plans in place and all of us continuing to use our layers of protection, we can not increase our much-needed social connections a little bit more,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, BC’s Provincial Health Officer. “Whether it is travelling to visit family in BC, having a small wedding or watching your child’s soccer games, these are the things we have all missed.”

The province has said the earliest date to move to Step 3 of the reopening plan is July 1.

While University Canada West’s upcoming Summer (July) 2021 Term will be online, the University continues to prepare for a full return to on-campus classes for the Fall (October) Term.

“We look forward to welcoming students back to our beautiful new Vancouver House Campus as we look to make a full return to in-class learning in October,” said Brock Dykeman, UCW President & Vice‑Chancellor.

In March, Dr. Henry announced that colleges and universities should prepare for a full return to on-campus education in the fall.

Published on June 15, 2021.