Gatherings and Events COVID Order for the Eastern Fraser Health Authority
On September 28, the Chief Medical Health Officer for the Fraser Health Authority issued an Order under the Public Heath Act of BC concerning Gatherings and Events in the Fraser Health Authority (the “Fraser Health Order”). This Order applies to Fraser East, being the communities of Hope, Chilliwack, Abbotsford, Mission, and Agassiz/Harrison.
We previously published a client bulletin on the Provincial Health Officer’s Order regarding Gatherings and Events (the “Provincial Order”), which still applies to these communities. Where the Fraser Health Order and the Provincial Health Order conflict, the provisions of the Fraser Health Order govern.
The Order states that it does not apply to a council, board or trust committee of a local authority as defined in the Community Charter, the Local Government Act or the Island Trusts Act when holding a meeting or public hearing without members of the public attending in person. It does not apply to various listed activities, including services for people in need such as cooling or warming centers or food distribution; public pools when not associated with an event; skating rinks when not used for adult sport; worship services; employment training; work camps; the use of any place for local government, provincial, or federal purposes; services provided by or on behalf of any level of government; farmers markets; or any rehabilitation or exercise therapy program. The Order also does not apply to workers at a workplace when engaged in work activities.
The Order includes the following parts:
2. Social Gatherings at Private Residences and Vacation Accommodation
3. Proof of Vaccination for Events
4. Additional Requirements for Workers and Operators
An “event” is defined to include a gathering of more than 10 people indoors or more than 50 people outdoors for social, entertainment, dancing, choral, musical, theatrical, recreational, gambling, arts or crafts or business purposes, a wedding reception or a funeral reception not in a funeral home. An “event” also includes a ticketed sports activity, concert, theatrical production, dance or symphony performance, festival, conference, convention, trade fair, home show, workshop, and a sponsored, ticketed party, as well as a gathering of any number of participants indoors or more than 50 participants outdoors for the purpose of an adult sports activity, or an exercise, fitness or dance activity or class.
A “place” means a venue including a hotel ballroom or conference room, a banquet hall, conference hall, auditorium, recreation center, theater, casino, gym, exercise or dance facility, arena, stadium, private residence, vacation accommodation, tent, bus, or a premises as defined in the Food and Liquor Serving Premises Order.
A “social gathering” means a gathering of one or more individuals at a private residence or vacation accommodation for social or recreational purposes.
Private Residences and Vacation Accommodation
The Fraser Health Order permits indoor social gatherings at a private residence or vacation accommodation if everyone over 12 attending is vaccinated. Alternatively, the gathering can have the occupants of one other private residence present with staff, or a maximum of five additional people, including staff, without the guests being fully vaccinated.
The Fraser Health Order also allows social gatherings to be held outside if everyone over 12 is fully vaccinated. If there are not more than ten guests including staff, and no one goes inside except to use the washroom, or the kitchen in the case of staff, the guests do not have to be fully vaccinated.
Proof of vaccination is not required but owners are liable for ensuring tenants or guests comply with the Fraser Health Order requirements.
Proof of Vaccination for Events
Unlike the rest of the province, events (as defined above) in Fraser Health now require proof of full vaccination for everyone over 12 (not partial vaccination). In addition, there must be a COVID safety plan and an organizer. The organizer is responsible for setting the capacity limit, including it in the safety plan, and monitoring guests to ensure it is not exceeded.
The organizer must collect contact information from event participants and retain it for 30 days for contract tracing purposes, then destroy it.
If the owner and organizer are not the same people, then the owner must be satisfied the organizer is aware of the requirements and has the capacity to fulfill them.
Additional Requirements for Workers and Operators
Workers and operators must wear masks at all times while in an indoor public space or a working area. Exceptions are permitted where workers are alone, behind a barrier, or they are delivering a presentation and there is a distance of two meters between them and others.
The operator of an indoor public space must prepare a written COVID safety plan, and provide it to public health immediately upon request.
Carolyn MacEachern, Michelle Blendell & Pam Costanzo