Your guide to B.C.’s new restrictions: Students can still travel home, but no socializing outside of your “core bubble”

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B.C. ferries boat
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Exploring B.C.’s newest covid regulations

Province-wide restrictions were updated on Nov. 19, placing limits on social gatherings and travel across B.C.. 

Masks are now mandatory in all indoor public spaces subject to a fine of $230. Face shields are not an acceptable alternative to a mask due to their opening below the mouth. These mask mandates extend to places of work and shared living spaces such as common areas of apartment buildings and condos.

The newest restrictions on travel and private gatherings will be in force until Dec. 7. But the fact is, if this new set of regulations is not heeded and cases continue to rise, they could be extended.

Here is what we know about the current restrictions that will affect students. 

University students can travel home

The holidays will look different this year, but what else could be expected from 2020. For many students the thought of a travel ban is a cause for concern, particularly for those hoping to return home for the holidays. Though social gatherings are being heavily restricted, holiday travel for university students is still deemed okay by the province.

The province has requested that non-essential travel inside and outside of B.C. be avoided. However, the province has clearly asserted that “welcoming your child home from university is okay. This is not a social gathering.” 

Anyone returning home to places outside of Canada will still have to quarantine for 14 days upon their return. 

Social gatherings are core bubble only 

Dr. Bonnie Henry’s newest restrictions have banned social gatherings, of any size, at private residences other than those in your household or core bubble. These new rules also extend to outdoor gatherings, as well as pubs and restaurants.

The days of six-person bubbles are over. The new definition of core bubbles limits them to “a group of people living in the same dwelling.” If you live in a suite within a household, the suite is considered a household. If you live in a house or apartment with roommates, those roommates are your household. 

For those living alone, core bubbles consist of “a partner, relative, friend or co-parent who lives in a different household” but is limited to a maximum of two individuals. 

Core bubbles can go to restaurants or study at the university together

The newest orders do not drastically affect campus activities.

However, following provincial restrictions, students living in residence should be encouraged to follow update mask mandates well navigating shared living space such as hallways and common areas. A statement from the University following these regulations states that, “Residence Services will provide updated guidance for students living on campus about the Public Health Orders specific to social gatherings.”

Students sharing the same core bubble are still able study on campus but masks will be mandatory for all public spaces. 

In response to the new guidelines, pubs and restaurants have put new rules in place surrounding mask use and group restrictions. Masks must now be worn whenever individuals are not seated at their table. This includes entranceways, hallways, and trips to the washroom. 

Following the provincial regulations, ABLE BC and BCRFA have asked that restaurants, pubs, and bars  follow guidelines to avoid gatherings of individuals with those outside their household and newly defined core bubble. This means that only people who are from the same household and core bubble can gather at pubs and bars.

These guidelines are a cause for change, but by maintaining these restrictions leading up to the holiday season, we can hope that the work we put in now will allow for further freedoms for the winter break, and a safer place for everyone.