The changes were announced at a Tuesday afternoon press conference with Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix.
While additional measures are being implemented in some areas, some restrictions are also being repealed as of Tuesday evening.
While much is still unknown about the Omicron variant, BC health officials are proactively reviewing some of the existing health orders.
“We have to anticipate and plan for the worst,” Henry said.
She also suggested that wearing a face mask will become increasingly important as the province navigates the Omicron variant.
Pursuant to the events and assembly orders, worship services will now be limited to 50% of capacity across the province, unless all participants are vaccinated, in which case 100% of capacity is still acceptable. Anyone attending worship should also remain masked, which also applies to choirs. Masks can be removed for eating, drinking, or for ceremonial activities. Masks can also be removed if distancing is required.
Northern Health will review its current orders, which will have an extended expiration date of January 31, 2022. Bars and nightclubs will remain closed and restaurants are to end alcohol service at 10pm. Social gatherings in private residences will accommodate up to 10 people indoors, or 25 people outside participants are fully vaccinated.
Indoor events at Northern Health of more than 10 people will have a 50% capacity limit, which includes funerals, weddings, sporting events, performing arts and performances. These changes will take effect on Wednesday.
In addition, measures for indoor health will be repealed from Tuesday evening, and Henry attributes this to a decrease in transmission and stabilization in hospitals and communities.
The measures that were put in place for the eastern Fraser Valley will be maintained for the time being.
British Columbia health officials will continue to monitor Omicron closely and look to see if the strain has a competitive advantage “that will allow it to take over.”