COVID-19 in B.C.: New health orders issued for drive-in theatres as province continues reopening

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      As B.C. continues on into the second phase of its reopening plan during the COVID-19 pandemic, there weren't any new outbreaks today (May 22), but there have been more deaths. In addition, the provincial government made announcements regarding drive-in theatres and food and drink establishments.

      In lieu of a news conference on Fridays, provincial health officer Dr. Henry and B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix issue a news release.

      Today, B.C. reported 18 new COVID-19 cases.

      While there has been a cumulative total of 2,507 cases in the province, 310 cases are active ones, with 41 individuals in hospital (eight of whom are in intensive-care units).

      So far, there have been 888 cases in Vancouver Coastal Health, 1,236 in Fraser Health, 127 in Island Health, 194 in Interior Health, and 62 in Northern Health.

      Nine cases in Interior Health and one case in Island Health were individuals from an outbreak at the Kearl Lake oilsands project in Alberta. These individuals completed their self-isolation in Alberta and have recovered.

      “The discrepancy between new cases and total cases with the Interior Health and Island Health regions reported today are a data consolidation to reflect COVID-19 cases based on where individuals reside, even if they were not in the health authority during their illness,” the news release explains.

      Unfortunately, three new deaths, all in Fraser Health, have raised the total fatalities to 155.

      There are no new health-care or community outbreaks and the Lions Gate Hospital outbreak is now over, but there remain 14 long-term care facilities and two acute-care facilities with active outbreaks.

      A cumulative total of 2,042 cases have recovered, which is 81 percent of the total cases.

      B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry
      Province of British Columbia

      Although local cinemas turning to drive-ins as an alternative to movie theatres has evoked a sense of nostalgia, new health orders will make some changes for the COVID-19 era to prevent the spread of the virus.

      While the health order restricting gatherings to a maximum of 50 people remains in place in B.C., the order has been amended to stipulate that 50 vehicles as the maximum number that can be present at a drive-in event.

      In addition, the sale of refreshments is restricted.

      Anyone attending these events must also remain in their vehicles unless they need to use washrooms, which must provide running water for hand hygiene.

      Meanwhile, the B.C. government announced today that the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation branch will temporarily authorize the expansion of service areas at restaurants, bars, and other establishments serving alcohol until the end of October, based on an online application process.

      In Vancouver, the park board announced today that it is reopening parking lots at beaches and parks that were closed on March 22 in an effort to reduce overcrowding and ensure physical distancing.

      The Stanley Park and English Bay remain the exceptions.