What you need to know about COVID restrictions in the Fraser Valley

Fraser East still has COVID restrictions that were from September. Here's your refresher on what those rules mean this holiday season.

By Grace Kennedy | December 16, 2021 |6:21 am

The holiday season is here, and it’s a time to gather with family and friends. But don’t forget those special COVID-19 restrictions in place for the Fraser Valley.

Dr. Bonnie Henry has asked everyone across BC to rethink their plans for this season. Although no additional restrictions were brought in for the province as a whole, she urged everyone to be cautious and consider avoiding gatherings with people whose vaccination status you don’t know.

But the Fraser Valley does have some extra COVID rules. At the end of September this year, Dr. Bonnie Henry put in a public health order placing additional restrictions on Fraser East—i.e. Abbotsford, Mission, Chilliwack, Agassiz, Harrison, and Hope—to help prevent the increase in COVID cases that had already begun in the area. Those restrictions remain in effect today.

So in the Fraser Valley, before you come together to trim the tree, kick off Kwanzaa, or toast the New Year, take a read through this refresher of our region’s specific COVID restrictions.

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Private gatherings

If you and your guests are fully vaccinated, you have no restrictions on personal gatherings. For people who are not fully vaccinated, indoor gatherings at private residences are limited to the host’s household plus five visitors, or one additional household. Outdoor gatherings with unvaccinated guests are limited to the host plus 10 visitors, all of whom must remain outside.

Organized gatherings

Fully vaccinated individuals must abide by province-wide restrictions, which include showing a proof of vaccination and following capacity limits. Unvaccinated people cannot attend ticketed events, as well as indoor sport, fitness, and dance activities. People who are not fully vaccinated can only attend other gatherings if it’s limited to 10 people inside or 50 people outside.

Workplaces

If you are still at work over the holidays, you should still be following the same rules that have been in place since September: wear a mask indoors unless you are alone or there is a barrier between you and others. You can remove the mask if it would interfere with the safe performance of your work or you have a valid exemption, which is rare.

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More details on all of these restrictions are available on Fraser Health’s website and in the official public health order.

Since the order was put in place in September, children aged five to 11 have become eligible for the vaccine. However, the order’s wording still indicates that only people 12 and older must be fully vaccinated. The term fully vaccinated does not include booster shots, which had not started when the order was put in place.

Fraser Valley vaccination rates

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The Fraser Valley is now seeing significantly better vaccination rates than it did back in September when region-specific rules were first put in place. It now also has roughly the same rate of new COVID cases as the rest of Fraser Health, which is lower than the rates were in September.

The Current asked Fraser Health whether there was a timeline for when COVID restrictions might be removed in Fraser East, or what criteria the health authority is using to make decisions about those restrictions. Fraser Health did not provide an answer to The Current’s question by our deadline.

Grace Kennedy

Reporter at Fraser Valley Current

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