COVID-19

(Last Update: May 30, 2022)

EMERGENCY STATUS
✅ Additional regional restrictions for Northern Health have been lifted. Provincial restrictions remain in effect.
✅Provincial State of Emergency has been allowed to lapse, effective June 30 2021 at 11:59 PM.


🚗🚌
TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS ARE NO LONGER IN EFFECT✈⛴
Travel restrictions for non-essential travel in B.C. have been lifted. Recreational travel within B.C. and Canada is permitted. Travel to the Interior or North is not recommended unless fully vaccinated due to high COVID-19 transmission rates.

🇺🇸From a United-States border crossing🛃
As of August 9, 2021, fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents are allowed entry into Canada for discretionary purposes.

Canadian citizens and permanent residents can now enter the United-States via land and ferry border crossings as of November 8 2021 when the US land and marine border opened to fully vaccinated travellers.

Arrivals to Canada must use the ArriveCAN App. Travellers entering Canada are no longer required to present a negative COVID-19 test. You might be selected for an on arrival COVID-19 test. If you are randomly selected, you must follow the instructions on the take home test kit that is provided to you, including taking the test through video appointment with a health care professional and arranging pickup. You do not have to isolate while waiting for test results if randomly selected.
Learn about arriving in Canada at a land border crossing

🚢 The Alaska Marine Highway system has released its proposed schedule for this summer. This schedule includes twice monthly service starting June through to September.

🌍From an international destination🛃
As of September 7, 2021, fully vaccinated foreign nationals from all over the world are allowed entry into Canada for discretionary travel purposes. Arrivals must use the ArriveCAN App.  Travellers entering Canada are no longer required to present a negative COVID-19 test. You may be randomly selected for an on-arrival COVID-19 test. If you are randomly selected, you must follow the instructions on the take home test kit that is provided to you, including taking the test through video appointment with a health care professional and arranging pickup. You do not have to isolate while waiting for test results if randomly selected.
Find out if you can travel to Canada

OMICRON VARIANT
The Omicron Variant of concern has become the dominant variant of COVID-19 in the Province of British Columbia. Below are some things that we know about the new variant:
•The new variant is vaccine resistant — a full course of vaccination does not protect well against symptomatic infection — a booster dose provides more protection;
•Thankfully, our vaccines provide excellent protection against severe illness and death;
•The new variant is less deadly than the original strain as well as Delta. Infections do not affect people as negatively however the WHO is cautioning people to avoid labelling the variant as “mild”;
•The new variant is highly transmissible. This is cause for concern, as even though infections tend to produce fewer negative effects than Delta or other strains, even a very small percentage of many people can cause a strain on our health care system;
•The incubation period for Omicron is shorter than the original COVID-19 virus or Delta at an average of three days;
•The distinctive COVID-19 symptom: loss of taste and / or smell, is largely not experienced by people infected with Omicron.
•Cloth masks are not as effective against Omicron. For better protection wear a 3-ply surgical mask, and double up with a cloth mask on top.
•This is a stressful time, and many may be struggling with feelings of hopelessness. Try not to despair — we are not ‘back to square one’. We have a large degree of protection against severe illness and death in the form of vaccinations, we know much more about COVID-19 than when it first appeared, we are developing treatments to prevent severe illness and death, and we will get through this together. As always, Be Kind, Be Calm, Be Safe.

🔅 PHYSICAL DISTANCING ORDERS 🔅
✅ There are no restrictions on indoor personal gatherings.
✅ There are no restrictions on outdoor personal gatherings.
🤒 Self-isolate if you are sick, even if it is not COVID-19.
😷 Masks are optional in most settings, but are required in health care settings, in airports / on planes and in train stations / on trains. Masks are encouraged in spaces where physical distancing is difficult to maintain, such as public transit and onboard a B.C. ferry.

ISOLATION REQUIREMENTS
Due to a variety of factors including the shortened incubation period of COVID-19, provincial isolation guidelines have changed: If you are fully vaccinated and cannot access a test, isolate at home until symptoms resolve then avoid high-risk settings like long-term care facilities and group gatherings until at least 10 days have passed. If you test positive and are fully vaccinated, stay home for at least 5 days since symptoms started or your test result was received and it has been at least 24 hours fever-free without medication. Avoid high risk settings like long-term care facilities and group gatherings for a further 5 days. These guidelines also apply for unvaccinated people under the age of 18.

If you are not fully vaccinated and are over the age of 18, new guidelines to isolate for 10 days since symptoms onset or positive test result are in place. Staying home while sick remains one of the most effective mitigation policies to prevent the spread of not only COVID-19, but other illnesses as well. Employees in BC are entitled to 5 days of paid-sick-leave to ensure they do not have to lose out on a paycheque for doing the right thing.

💉 VACCINATIONS
2️⃣ BC  is in Phase 4 of the COVID-19 Immunization Plan. During this phase, everybody 5+ can get vaccinated.

📲 The province has launched an online registration system to request a vaccine. Anybody over the age of 5 can book online at https://www2.gov.bc.ca/getvaccinated.html .

BOOSTER DOSES
More people in B.C. will start to receive invitations for a COVID-19 booster shot as the Province continues its COVID-19 immunization plan. People aged 18 and up, 6 to 8 months from their second dose who are registered in the Get Vaccinated system will be invited by email or text message to book their booster dose. Vulnerable populations are now eligible for a fourth dose six months after their third dose. You can register in the system at https://www2.gov.bc.ca/getvaccinated.html. Second booster doses (‘fourth doses’) will be offered to seniors in long-term care and assisted living facilities as well as seniors over the age of 70 and Indigenous people over the age of 55. People will receive an invitation to book based on their eligibility.

3️⃣ THIRD DOSES
Third doses will be given to clinically severely immunocompromised individuals whose immune systems might have not mounted as strong a response to the first two doses. These individuals will be contacted by their health care professionals.


SAFETY
👩🏿‍⚕️ The COVID-19 vaccines that have been approved by Health Canada are safe, effective and will save lives. To date, two vaccines have been fully approved for use by Health Canada.
—–Learn about the Pfizer vaccine
—–Learn about the Moderna vaccine
Additionally, two other vaccines have been approved for emergency use:
—–Learn about the AstraZeneca vaccine
—–Learn about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine
—–Learn about the Novavax Nuvaxovid vaccine
—–Learn about the Medicago Covifenz vaccine

👨🏾‍🔬 Health Canada has conducted a rigorous scientific review of the available medical evidence to assess the safety of the approved COVID-19 vaccines. Feeling worried or unsure is completely normal when something is new.
—–No major safety concerns have been identified in the data Health Canada reviewed
—–We can be reassured that Health Canada has a thorough approval process that makes sure the vaccines and medicines we take are safe.
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🚚SUPPLY
Vaccine supply is distributed by the Government of Canada and B.C. receives an allocated number of doses of vaccine on a weekly basis.
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💫 VACCINE CHOICES
People eligible for a vaccine in Phase 4 will get either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Due to vaccine logistics and to make sure people get the vaccine as quickly and safely as possible, people will not be able to choose which vaccine they get.
Essential workers prioritized for vaccination and identified in Phase 3 will be able to:
🔁For those who had an mRNA (Pfizer or Moderna) vaccine for their first dose, it is safe to get a different mRNA vaccine for your second dose.
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💷 COST
The COVID-19 vaccine is free for everyone living in B.C. who is eligible to receive it.
LEARN MORE ABOUT BC’S VACCINATION PLAN HERE

📲💳 PROOF OF VACCINATION
The BC Vaccine Card program is no longer in effect. Proof of vaccination is still required to board a plane or train, access long-term care facilities (with the exception of compassionate visits related to end-of-life) and to cross various international borders. The federal government considers someone fully vaccinated if 14 days have passed since their second dose.
You can get your federal proof-of-immunization here: https://www.healthgateway.gov.bc.ca/vaccinecard

HEALTH CARE
🧪 COVID-19 testing criteria changes regularly. Take the online self-assessment or call 8-1-1 if you have symptoms to check whether you should be tested.
💉 Safe prescription alternatives to the illegal drug supply available to people who use substances.
🏥 Visitor restrictions are in place at health care facilities.
🧓 Long-term care and seniors’ assisted living facilities are under visitation restrictions.

LOCAL TRANSPORTATION
🚗 Renew auto-insurance online.
🚗 Extend your drivers license remotely.
🚌 BC Transit & TransLink: Face coverings are required.
⛴️ BC Ferries: Face coverings are required.
⛴️ BC Inland Ferries: Face coverings are required.
✅ All ICBC knowledge tests available again by appointment.
💶 ICBC customers are eligible for rebates averaging $190. If your address is current, you do not need to do anything to ensure you receive the rebate.
>> Click here to see personal supports available to you.

RETAIL & SERVICES
⛔️ The resale of food, medical supplies, personal protective equipment, cleaning products and other essential supplies is prohibited.
✅🎰 Casinos are open.
🛍️ Some businesses may refuse to pack reusable bags or containers. 🔅
🍽️ Restaurants, pubs, cafés, that serve food are open for outdoors and indoors seating.
✅ Sale of non-food items may now resume at “farmers markets” or “community markets”.
Personal service establishments (salons, spas, massage, tattoo parlours, etc.) may re-open. 🔅
ℹ️ Read more: Essential Services List
ℹ️ Read more: Guidance to retail food & grocery stores

GOVERNMENT SERVICES
🍷 BC Liquor Stores are open.
💡 BC Service Centres are open. You can also call for service: 1-800-663-7867.
💳 Mobile BC Services Cards can be now set-up and verified remotely.

RECREATION & OUTDOORS
✅ Travel restrictions in place for Haida Gwaii have been lifted.
✅Gyms, fitness centres and dance studios are open.
✅ North Shore playgrounds now open.
✅ North Shore libraries have re-opened. Check online for hours and services before you go.
Parks Canada: National parks, historic sites, and campsites are re-opening. Check online before you go.
ℹ️ Read more: In-province travel restrictions

CHILDREN, YOUTH, & STUDENTS
👪 Enhanced government funding is available for child care providers that stay open and that close. Providers receiving enhanced government funding (above) cannot charge parent fees for any periods of closure or for vacant spaces and must reserve spaces for families. Check with your provider to see if they are in this program. (Effective April 2020)
🎓 Go Forward Guidelines have been released for post-secondary institutions.
✅ Parents may now choose to return their children to child care. The online childcare matching service is now open to all parents.
>> Click here to see personal supports available to you.
ℹ️ Read More: BC Government COVID-19 child care supports

LABOUR & BUSINESSES
⛔️ The Workplace COVID-19 Safety Plan requirement has been changed to a communicable diseases safety plan🔅
Employers can request reasonably sufficient proof of illness for time off work.
👷‍♀️ Workers can take five days protected paid sick leave. This is in addition to the three days of unpaid sick leave currently provided by the Employment Standards Act. You must have worked with your employer for at least 90 days to be eligible for paid sick leave.
🇨🇦 The federal Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit can be accessed by workers unable to work due to becoming ill with COVID-19 or being required to self-isolate.
🧍 Workers may take unpaid, job-protected leave if they are unable to work for reasons relating to COVID-19, retroactive to Jan 27, 2020. As a permanent change, workers now also have three days of unpaid, job-protected leave each year for people who cannot work due to illness or injury.
ℹ️ Read more: Public Health Officer Guidance for industries and employers
>> Click here to see supports available to you and your business.

 INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL & BORDERS 🍁
⚠ Global Travel Advisory reinstated. Read specific travel advisories here.
❌ Protocols in place for foreign nationals transiting through Canada to Alaska. 🍁
Cruise ships with overnight accommodations are no longer prohibited from operating in Canadian waters as of November 1, 2021.
⛔️ Non-vaccinated Travellers entering the country must self-isolate for fourteen days.🔅 Violations carry a maximum fine of $750,000 and 6 months in jail.🍁
⛔️ Anyone exhibiting symptoms will be actively refused boarding onto all aircraft and trains, including for travel within Canada.🍁
🌡️ Temperature screening is now required at all airports as well as at points of departure for those travelling inbound into Canada.🍁
🍁✈🚃 Mandatory vaccination to board:
As of October 30, 2021 at 03:00 EDT: if you’re 12 years of age plus 4 months, or older, you’ll need to be fully vaccinated in order to board:
domestic or international flights departing from most airports in Canada, including charter and foreign airlines carrying commercial passengers
Medevac flights and private flights that don’t enter airport restricted areas are excluded
VIA Rail and Rocky Mountaineer trains
Airports with vaccination requirement
🍁 The global travel advisory has been lifted.
🍁 CBSA services hours are temporarily reduced at more land, air, marine ports of entry (POE).
🍁 Passport services in Canada resuming by mail and by appointment for travel in less than 30 days.
>> Click here to see personal supports available to you.
🍁 Federal measure. Contact your local MP for questions about these items.
🔅 Public Health Order.

BordersLabour & IndustryChildren & FamiliesEmploymentEnforcementFinancial SupportsHealth CareHousingRecreation & OutdoorsGovernment ServicesRetail & ServicesSocial DistancingSupportsStudentsTransportationTravelYouth


Questions?

If you have symptoms:

If you need help or would like to give help to others:

  • Call: 2-1-1* ☎️

If you are looking for medical information about COVID-19:

  • Call: 8-1-1* ☎️
  • Online: BC CDC 🌐

If you are looking for non-medical information about COVID-19:

*Translation available in over 100 languages

Official Information Sources

This is a regularly evolving situation, with changes on a day-by-day and even hour-by-hour basis. Thus, please take note of the following links so that you can stay up to date:

Official Health Information on COVID-19
Be cautious of information you read about the virus online. Stick with reputable sites such as:

Travel Advisories & Border Control
Travel advisories and border control directives are issued by the Government of Canada. Visit Travel Advisories to see the latest advice on travel.