B.C. premier says 'extraordinary results' mean most restrictions being lifted

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VICTORIA — British Columbia will be moving toward a return to normal life on Canada Day as the province removes most COVID-19 restrictions and allows outdoor gatherings of up to 5,000 people.

Premier John Horgan says high vaccination rates and a low number of cases and deaths compared with other jurisdictions including Ontario and Quebec mean the province has achieved "extraordinary results" through its public health response.

Horgan says B.C. recorded 29 cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, seven of them in the Fraser Health region, which has consistently had among the highest case numbers in the province since the start of the pandemic.

As of Thursday, restaurants and pubs will no longer have limits on the number of diners, but people will still not be allowed to mingle with those at other tables, and masks will no longer be mandatory anywhere.

However, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says some businesses may want people to continue wearing masks for a while longer as they transition toward normalcy, and everyone should comply with those requirements.

All restrictions are expected to be lifted in B.C. on Labour Day, but Henry says public health officials will continue to monitor clusters of COVID-19 as part of their surveillance of communicable diseases like the flu.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 29, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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