There is no doubt about it: the holiday season is going to be quieter this year. But that doesn’t mean you’ll have to spend it alone, according to B.C. health officials.
The province is under health orders until Jan. 8, which restrict gatherings of any size whether indoor or outdoor. The measures are in response to a difficult second wave in the ongoing pandemic, which has seen daily case counts top 900 new infections, as well as record-breaking hospitalization rates.
There are some situations exempt from the orders, according to information released by the provincial health office.
While most British Columbians are limited to only spend Christmas, Hanukkah and other celebrations with their immediate household, those who live alone are allowed to gather with a few others.
Dubbed a “core bubble,” people who live alone can still see a partner, relative, friend or someone they co-parent with in a different household. This bubble can include a maximum of two people.
Other exemptions include those who co-parent or have to rely on other family members and friends for delivering essential products, such as mail, medication or groceries.
Last week, Health Minister Adrian Dix confirmed that grandparents who already help take care of their grandchildren will be allowed to see each other during the holidays, such as for Christmas and New Year’s.
Dix said, however, that caution is still key in tiding the second wave.
“When in doubt, rule it out,” he said. “When there is additional risk, rule it out.”
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said she’s been inundated with hundreds of inquiries where people ask “What about my specific situation?” and urged British Columbians to take the rules and apply them in a way that ensures transmission risks are reduced.
“The bottom line is we want to, as much as possible, stick with our household,” she said.
“If your household regularly includes grandparents as part of caring for children then you can make that decision about that risk to you, to your grandparents in particular.”
Henry said what cannot happen is extended families — such as adult children with their own children and partners — joining together this holiday.
“We need to show our love for each other for staying small and staying with our close family unit only.”
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