COVID-19 Update (Nov 7, 2020): Orders and Guidance from the Provincial Health Officer and Minister of Health

On Saturday, November 7th, the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) and the Minister of Health announced orders and guidance for everyone within these two regional health authorities.

While the orders and guidance exclude worksites and educational activities, there are aspects that may apply to your campuses and communities which we bring to your attention as follows:

Starting today Saturday, Nov 7th at 10:00 pm to Monday, Nov 23rd Noon, the following is ordered by the PHO:

No indoor social gatherings of any size (Note: this does not include places of work or educational activities);
No indoor activities which lead to heightened respiratory activity in a group setting (including but not limited to yoga, spin, dance and group fitness classes).
Weddings and funerals can proceed but no receptions or gatherings before or afterwards;
No indoor sports involving contact;
No interregional travel by sports teams;

For the same two week period noted above, the following is advised by the PHO:

No guests in private residences;
Minimize all other social interactions;
No unnecessary/non-essential travel outside the lower mainland;
Those that can work from home should for the two week period – however, note that this does not apply to places of work and educational facilities.

We anticipate that last advice bullet could be confusing to interpret.

In general, worksites and educational activities are controlled locations under specific COVID-19 safety plans.
Attendees at controlled locations do so with specific training in accordance with your safety plans and they are generally spaces and activities that are not open to the public.
Educational Activities are defined in on page 15 of the Go-Forward Guidelines (but now with the exception of activities listed in today’s PHO order)
Institutions will need to exercise their best judgement in interpreting this advice from the PHO to maintain continuity of service and education.

Please review and update your COVID-19 Safety Plans accordingly.

For your information, WorkSafeBC and Public Health Officers will be increasing inspections of worksites – with a focus on the type of worksite where spread has been particularly significant (e.g. meatpacking, food processing, warehousing) to ensure strict compliance with COVID-19 safety plans. In addition to writing up orders requiring changes in operations, they will look at fines and, in the extreme, stop work orders.

We will provide you with a link to the specific orders from the PHO as soon as they are posted on the BC Centre for Disease Control website.

Thank you for the important role you play in supporting the provincial COVID-19 response. Please share this update broadly within your respective institutions.

COVID-19 Resources:

Guidelines for BC’s post-secondary sector are hosted on the Ministry’s public website.
Guidance and recommendations from the Provincial Health Officer are available online at the COVID-19 Provincial Support and Information website.
If you require advice regarding a potential COVID-19 case, please contact your local Medical Health Officer.