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All church capacity limits and restrictions lift in B.C. July 1

BY AGNIESZKA RUCK

FROM BC CATHOLIC

Story is developing and will be updated.

For many places of worship in B.C., it is welcome news.

As of July 1, all churches and other places that hold religious services can operate without COVID-19 capacity limits or restrictions.

“I am absolutely delighted that Dr. Henry has lifted all restrictions on religious gatherings and worship services,” said Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, in response to the news.

He said further information about how this will affect local Catholic churches will follow shortly.

B.C. health officer Bonnie Henry today announced that the province’s restart plan is moving to Step 3 on July 1. Other restrictions that will be lifted include all limits on personal gatherings and a move to make masks recommended, but not mandatory, in public indoor spaces.

Restrictions on indoor gatherings, including weddings but not religious services, are being eased, with capacity now limited to 50 people or 50 per cent of capacity, whichever is greater.

Outdoor gatherings can be open to up to 5,000 people or 50 per cent of capacity, also whichever is greater.

“It is indeed a great announcement today that we are ready to bring us back together,” said Henry, adding that the province is making the moves due to high and rising vaccination rates and declining hospitalizations and deaths.

Currently 78 per cent of British Columbians over age 18 have had a first dose of a COVID vaccine; over 30 per cent have had second doses.

The provincial state of emergency will be lifted.

More information on Step 3 can be found here.