B.C. is ordering nightclubs and stand-alone banquet halls closed, ending the sale of liquor at restaurants past 10 p.m., and telling venues to reduce the volume of music to conversation levels, as cases of COVID-19 continue to spike in the province.
Bars and restaurants must close by 11 p.m., unless they are serving food.
The amendments to public health orders come as the province reported 429 new cases of COVID-19 over a four-day period, bringing the total number of cases in B.C. to 6,591.
Two more people, both in long-term care, have died of the virus.
The new numbers represent four reporting periods over the long weekend. Henry said 123 of the cases were recorded between Friday and Saturday, 116 were reported between Saturday and Sunday, 107 between Sunday and Monday, and 83 new cases were confirmed between Monday and Tuesday.
There are three new health-care associated outbreaks, at Burnaby General Hospital, Redo Retirement Centre and Holy Family Hospital. There are no new community outbreaks, though there have been several exposure events in the Lower Mainland.
Henry said amended orders were issued as “a last resort.”
“We recognize that these venues have tried. We’ve made adjustments but there are still exposures happening,” she said.
Henry also reiterated that B.C. residents should be easing up on social interactions as the fall approaches, reigning in bubbles to five or six people.
B.C. in a ‘second ripple’
Earlier Tuesday, Henry said B.C. was experiencing a “second ripple” of cases of COVID-19 and that she was looking at bringing in new measures to help curb the spread of the virus.
At the beginning of the pandemic, health officials and epidemiologists predicted a second wave of the virus, possibly connected to colder weather. Now, modelling predicts a pattern of cases more like ripples or “moguls,” as Henry has previously called them, that will spike upwards when enough people in a population become complacent around physical distancing measures.
“I think we’re probably in our second ripple,” said Henry, speaking to CBC’s The Early Edition on Tuesday morning.
“Partly, it’s because our testing has gone up and we’ve had contact with larger numbers in younger people. And I think people needed a bit of a release during the summer. It was very extreme measures that we took in March and April, and it was very concerning for people.”
On Tuesday, cases were confirmed among staff and students at a private school in West Vancouver. In a letter to parents, the head of Mulgrave School, John Wray, wrote that the exposure occurred while Grade 9 students were away from campus for an off-site day camp experience.
Vancouver Coastal Health is now conducting contact tracing and those students and staff are self-isolating for two weeks. The students were all part of the same learning group, and the camp activities took place outdoors, with physical distancing measures in place.
“We have had such a successful start to the year. This event may feel like a setback, but such exposures are expected and we have faith in the system that Vancouver Coastal Health has put in place,” wrote Wray in the letter.
B.C.’s restrictions began to ease in mid-May, as public health orders were gradually lifted. B.C. entered Phase 3 of its pandemic response plan in late June, allowing for travel within the province.
By mid-July, cases had begun to climb steadily upwards, and B.C. recorded its highest single-day jump in new cases on Aug. 28.