Phase 2 of B.C.'s restart plan set to begin next week

Phase 2 coming next week

Recreational travel in B.C. will likely return next week, as the province is on track to enter its second phase of its restart plan.

During her COVID-19 modelling presentation Thursday, Dr. Bonnie Henry said the decreasing number of cases and hospitalizations, along with increasing vaccination rates in recent weeks, supports moving to Phase 2 next week.

“We're bridging still, from a time of orders and restrictions, to a time when we can safely spend time with others once again,” Dr. Henry said Thursday.

“Step 2 is coming up, and so far, the data that we have is supporting that we can go there. I'm confident we can take this step, as long as we increase our contacts in a slow and measured way.”

Health Minister Adrian Dix also noted that Premier John Horgan will be joining him and Dr. Henry during Monday's press conference. Horgan has regularly participated in the press conferences when big announcements are made.

When the restart plan was first announced last month, Dr. Henry noted that Phase 2 would be introduced on June 15 “at the earliest,” depending on vaccination rates and case counts and hospitalization numbers.

In addition to the repealing of the travel ban, which was put in place in late April, Phase 2 is also expected to include extending liquor service at bars and restaurants to midnight, allowing outdoor and indoor seated gatherings of up to 50 people, and allowing indoor high-intensity group exercise classes, along with the resumption of indoor sports for both youth and adults.

The latest modelling numbers Thursday showed B.C. is heading in the right direction among a number of metrics.

“For the first time in many months, our reproductive rate, which tells us how many people each new case is spreading to, is well below one in all health regions. As well, community transmission, hospitalizations and deaths are all declining as immunizations go up,” Dr. Henry said.

“We will be in a good position to continue safely moving forward with our restart plan and we'll be talking more about that next week as we move into the next phase of our plan.”

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