The films are again lighting the screens at local theatres, the wine is flowing on restaurant patios and inside restaurants and happy travellers are once again sailing across the Salish Sea.
The provincial government moved to the second phase of its COVID-19 reopening plan Tuesday, ending the restrictions on provincial travel.
“Step two ends the current travel restrictions in British Columbia,” Premier John Horgan said June 14. “However, we are advising against non-essential travel from out of province. We want that to remain in place as we watch what other provinces across the country do as they start their restart plans as well.”
The return of provincewide travel and accommodation includes liquor sales returning to the pre-pandemic cutoff of midnight. Step two also includes returning to small office meetings, with similar distance and gathering safety measures that apply to gyms, playing fields, restaurants, retail and schools.
The public’s reaction to the announcement was immediate, with the BC Ferries website going down less than an hour after the travel restrictions were eased.
Soon after the announcement was made, BC Ferries said its website was “currently unavailable” and thanked people for being patient. The website was back up and taking bookings later in the day.
Step three is expected to begin July 1 at the earliest, which includes a return to fairs and festivals, recreational travel across Canada, increased capacity for indoor fitness, reopening of bingo halls and casinos with capacity limits, and larger seminars and business meetings. The public health advice on masks is expected to move from mandatory indoors to recommended as of July 1, meaning businesses and other indoor spaces can set their own mask policy based on their safety plans.
B.C. introduced the travel restrictions in April, prohibiting non-essential travel between Vancouver Island and the mainland. When was the last time you ventured off the Island? Take our poll and let us know.
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