Nightclubs and banquet halls, called "major sources" of COVID-19 transmission, ordered closed

As the province reports 429 new cases of COVID-19 over the long weekend, B.C.'s provincial health officer closes nightclubs and imposes restrictions on bars, pubs and restaurants

Nightclubs and banquet halls have been ordered closed by B.C.'s Provincial Health Officer and additional restrictions have been put on restaurants

In a COVID-19 update issued on Tuesday, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said it is time for everyone to cut back on social interactions, insisting everyone should limit contact with those outside household bubbles.

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To that end, Henry has introduced a new public health order, closing nightclubs and banquet halls, which she said have emerged as a "major source" of transmission of COVID-19, leading to "a lot of time and resources" spent contact tracing, made especially difficult because the people at these venues are not often connected.

The announcement of the new public health order followed the reporting of 429 new cases of COVID-19 over the four-day long weekend period.

"We need to ensure public health teams are able to take care of everyone in B.C.," Henry said. "Despite weeks of effort, these venues are still a source of serious risk."

Other restrictions have also been put on bars, pubs and restaurants. Liquor sales must cease at 10 p.m. and the venue must close by 11 p.m., unless providing full meal service, which can continue without alcohol service.

Music or other background sounds must also be limited to no louder than normal conversation to prevent people from speaking loudly.

With the addition of 429 new cases, B.C. now has 1,386 active cases and has seen 6,591 cases since the pandemic began.

The number of those in hospitals still remains relatively low, however, with 32 in hospital and 11 of those in critical care.

Two additional deaths were reported over the long weekend, as well, adding to B.C.'s toll of 213 dead, while a total of 4,978 have recovered.

By health authority, there have now been 2,249 cases in Vancouver Coastal Health, 3,428 in Fraser Health, 185 in Vancouver Island Health, 460 in Interior Health, 186 in Northern Health and 84 cases among those who reside outside Canada.

The long weekend also brought three additional health care facility outbreaks, at Burnaby Hospital, Rideau Retirement Residence (Burnaby) and a second outbreak at Holy Family Hospital in Vancouver.

There are also 3,063 people being actively monitored by public health workers due to potential exposure.

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