Safety update: New guidelines from PHO for safer holiday season

Update December 23, 2021 – Updated Return-to-Campus Guidelines are now available from the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training and include a letter from Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry to BC post-secondary presidents. 

New COVID-19 measures have been issued by the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) today to address the surge in COVID-19 cases and slow the spread of Omicron, the new variant of concern. These restrictions are in addition to the revised orders that took effect on Monday, Dec. 20. We encourage you to familiarize yourself with the new public health restrictions, and visit the BCIT COVID-19 website to review updates related to BCIT before the start of Winter term.

The new public health restrictions take in effect on Wednesday, December 22, 2021 until January 18, 2022 and include:

  • indoor personal gatherings limited to household members plus 10 guests, or one additional household as long as everyone 12+ is vaccinated;
  • no organized indoor social events and gatherings of any size, including weddings, receptions, and parties;
  • organized New Year’s Eve events of all sizes are cancelled, except for seated gatherings;
  • BC vaccine cards are now required for events of all sizes, with QR codes mandatorily scanned at events;
  • sports tournaments and associated travel suspended;
  • concerts, sports games, and movie theatres reduced to 50% seated capacity, regardless of venue size;
  • all gyms, fitness centres, and dance studios closed;
  • all bars and nightclubs closed;
  • limiting table sizes at restaurants, cafes, and pubs to a maximum of six people per table with physical distancing or barriers; and
  • diners at restaurants must remain at their table and not mix with other parties.

In addition to the revised PHO orders, you are advised to:

  • limit indoor gatherings to those who are fully vaccinated;
  • ensure proper ventilation indoors;
  • avoid all travel if not fully vaccinated and to follow the travel advisory issued by the federal government to avoid non-essential travel outside of Canada.

The PHO also announced today that BC will expand rapid testing to students, faculty, and staff in post-secondary education. Approximately 500,000 tests for students and staff will be deployed as needed to support return to school and continuity of in-person learning. Further details to come from the Ministry of Advanced Education.

We have also compiled the following resources, which may be helpful as you make your holiday and new year plans.

Travel guidance

Vaccine guidance

Vaccinations remain the best defense against COVID-19. If you have already received your second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, you will be notified through your health authority once you become eligible for the third dose. Visit the BC government website for more information on getting your booster dose.

Please note that in-person learning is expected to continue on January 4, 2022. As COVID-19 guidelines continue to shift, we encourage you to visit the BCIT COVID-19 website and watch the BCIT Safety Wise app to review updates related to BCIT at the start of Winter term.

Thank you for doing your part to keep our community safe.

Glen Magel
Director, Safety, Security and Emergency Management

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