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Interior Health MLAs ask B.C. to clarify why local WHL teams are stuck with capacity limits

Provincial restrictions on gatherings set to ease next week, Interior may have to wait
The Kelowna Rockets fill the arena against the Calgary Hitmen on February 28, 2015, at Prospera Place in Kelowna. (Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)

Five BC Liberal MLAs in the Thompson-Okanagan are demanding health officials explain why capacity restrictions in Interior Health are not lifting alongside the rest of the province.

On Tuesday, Oct. 19, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced B.C. is removing capacity limits requiring vaccine cards starting Oct. 25, but for the Interior, things aren’t that simple.

Interior Health, along with Northern Health and eastern regions of Fraser Health, has its own health order imposing a 50 per cent capacity restriction on large indoor events. Those orders, separate from the provincial one, remain in effect.

MLAs Norm Letnick, Ben Stewart, Renee Merrifield, Todd Stone and Pete Milobar, representing five ridings in Kelowna and Kamloops, have penned a letter to Interior Health chief medical health officer Dr. Sue Pollock.

Specifically, the letter notes the frustrations of local sports teams like the Kelowna Rockets and Kamloops Blazers. The MLAs say the teams’ management groups are at a “loss to understand” why they are unable to operate at full capacity while Lower Mainland teams can welcome back a packed house of vaccinated fans.

The letter asks the health authority to clarify the rationale for more restrictive capacity restrictions in the Interior, what will trigger a change and when it will happen.

Interior Health has indicated that an update will come Friday but it is unclear whether that means the order will be lifted.

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