B.C.’s COVID-19 restart includes a cautious return to indoor religious services, including small funerals, but weddings with more than 10 people still have to be held outside for now.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says updated public health orders have been posted to permit indoor church services of up to 50 people with masks and two-metre spacing between participants. Multiple services can be held in a day with time for sanitizing in between, and a list of conditions including mask use and restriction to solo singers rather than choirs.
“It does allow for small funerals and baptisms as part of a religious service, but not at the moment for weddings,” Henry said May 27. “Weddings are subject to the same restrictions that we have on indoor gatherings, so still small numbers, and they certainly could be held, but the number is limited to 10 people for weddings at the moment. But those are the things that we’ll be working with faith leaders to move for the next phase of this.”
Like choirs and weddings where distance is difficult to maintain, high-intensity fitness remains prohibited. Gyms and recreation facilities that offer individual workouts and personal training remain open with COVID-19 safety plans similar to restaurants, retail and industrial workplaces.
Also in the works is a return to overnight summer camps for children, with similar precautions that are being worked out. Camp organizations and parents can expect new public health guidance as soon as next week, Henry said.
“I also want to let people know we have been working with the camps associations,” Henry said. “Our Provincial Health Officer order about overnight camps for children and youth will be amended in the coming days to allow them to happen this summer with specific conditions, and we are working those out with the appropriate associations.”