The Canadian province of British Columbia is set to remove several major Covid-19 related restrictions over the coming weeks. The province, home to the city of Vancouver and several popular national parks and ski resorts, revealed its plans to ease its Covid-19 restrictions in a press conference yesterday, with changes set to have a large impact on both travelers heading to the province and everyday life there.
Whilst Canada hasn’t been quite as eager to roll back its restrictions as its neighbours to the south, the US – and certainly not as keen as nearby Mexico – BC’s upcoming changes suggest that the table has been turned and that a wider change in policy could be just around the corner. Here’s a look at what is set to be changed in The Pacific Province, which restrictions are set to stay for the time being and a reminder of changes made by other provinces.
BC Eases Restrictions – Information For Travelers
One of the major restrictions that BC has eased across the province regards face masks. Effective from today, those in BC will no longer have to wear a face mask in low-risk, indoor public spaces, after the province removed its mask mandate. The decision to remove the mask mandate in BC follows similar decisions in other Canadian provinces. The likes of Alberta and Saskatchewan have already dropped the requirement, whilst Quebec has set a date of March 12 for their restrictions to be eased and Manitoba will follow on March 15th.
Travelers should however remain aware that face masks may still be required in health-care settings, such as in a physician’s office. Whilst workplaces may require that face masks be worn, it will no longer be a requirement of workplace safety plans. Dr. Bonnie Henry, the Provincial Health Officer for British Columbia, also recommended that masks are still to be worn during public transit situations.
Speaking about the upcoming changes, Dr. Henry stressed the importance of personal choices.
“While masks are no longer required or mandated under an order as of tomorrow, some people and some locations will continue to use masks personally or in their business, and that’s OK. We need to support that, we need to recognize that, we all have our own risks and our own vulnerabilities.”
Travelers will also be relieved to hear that the province will be removing the need to use a vaccine passport in order to gain access to different types of businesses. As of April 8th, those who are in BC will no longer be required to show proof of vaccination to enter discretionary businesses and events, such as restaurants, sporting events and movie theatres.
However, it is important to note that such businesses in the province may still require travelers to wear a face mask or show their proof of vaccination if they wish to do so, so travelers should ensure they carry proof just in case. This change is also subject to the Covid-19 situation in the province continuing to improve, with a spike in cases likely to lead to the restrictions being kept in place little longer.
Other provinces in Canada have already made such changes. Alberta was the first to remove its vaccine passport requirements, but other provinces, such as Saskatchewan and Ontario, have also removed the requirement. Quebec is set to stop the use of vaccine passports on March 12th.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories