Dear Accommodation Community & Stakeholders,
Today at 2pm, Adrian Dix, Minister of Health; Dr. Bonnie Henry, BC’s provincial health officer; and Dr. Sue Pollock, chief medical health officer of Interior Health; announced that additional measures have been introduced to the Central Okanagan region effective today. Note, that restrictions on events and gatherings will begin on at 12:01am Monday, August 9th.
The restrictions will impact the regions of:
- West Kelowna
- Westbank First Nation
- Lake Country
Minister of Health Adrian Dix advised that the new measures have been introduced as 56.24 percent of active cases are in Interior Health Authority with the vast majority in the Central Okanagan region. A significant majority of cases are among unvaccinated individuals and individuals who have only received a single dose.
Due to the continued rise of COVID-19 cases, and the introduction of the Delta variant, new measures include:
- Travel and Accommodation
- Vacation rentals and accommodations (houses/houseboats included) will be limited to 5 people plus occupants
- Recommendation against non-essential travel to the Okanagan
- Personal gatherings
- Outdoor personal gatherings limited to 50 people
- Indoor personal gatherings limited to groups of five people from one other households
- Organized gatherings
- Indoor/outdoor gatherings limited to 50 people with COVID safety plan in place
- Restaurants, Bars, Nightclubs, Casinos
- Nightclubs and bars will be closed
- Restaurants will be limited to groups of up to 6 people (not restricted to own household)
- Liquor service limited until 10pm
- Casinos will remain operational under current guidelines but must comply with restaurant guidance
- Exercise Facilities
- Indoor low intensity exercise will continue with capacity limits
- Indoor high intensity exercise will be suspended
- Mask mandate will continue to be in place for all indoor public places and is enforceable by bi-law officers in the Central Okanagan
Events Taking Place This Weekend:
As mentioned restrictions on gatherings and events will take place on Monday, August 9th. Should you have an event planned for this weekend, organizers should ensure they have safety plans in place and keep a list of individuals who attended these events. Unimmunized people are strongly encouraged not attend these events; other attendees should wear masks and stay seated.
The single most important action we can all do to protect our industry, community, and ourselves is to receive both vaccine doses and encourage others to do the same. To encourage residents of British Columbia to become fully vaccinated, the government of BC has taken the following measures:
- Community events, vax vans and mobile clinics in dozens of communities in B.C. available by walk-in or pre-scheduling. Search by community to find a drop-in event near you. Events are organized by each health authority.
- Interior Health
People who live in Kelowna, West Kelowna, Peachland, Lake Country and on Westbank First Nations lands (Central Okanagan Local Health Area) can get their second dose 28 days after dose 1, opposed to 48 days.
- Fraser Health
- Vancouver Coastal
- Island Health
- Northern Health
Gradual refocus of vaccine efforts from mass clinics onto programs targeting the hard to reach people where the need is greatest. A full list of Vax for BC events happening throughout the province is available online: gov.bc.ca/vaxforbc
Additional Recommendations for Operators:
In addition to encouraging those in our circle to receive the vaccine, it is important that operators take the following steps to mitigate the spread of COVID-19:
- Ensure that cleaning and sanitization protocols are being held to the highest standards
- That you encourage staff to stay home from work and receive a COVID-19 test should they be feeling ill
- That you continue to ensure your communicable disease plan is being followed
- Consider also ensuring that heightened safety measures (such as masks) are being implemented
Comment for Members:
The surge in COVID-19 cases, coupled with a devastating wildfire season in the Okanagan, is taking an unimaginable toll on operators in the region, during a time where occupancy should be at its highest. Please know, that we are acutely aware of the critical impact this will have on our industry and are actively advocating for support for our membership.
We will continue to communicate further updates and information, along with the official guidelines from government once received. We encourage anyone with questions to reach out to our team as always. Our hearts are with our Central Okanagan operators during this challenging period. Let us all do what we can, and roll up our sleeves, so that we can put this chapter behind us.
President and CEO
British Columbia Hotel Association