B.C. putting limits on rental properties, houseboats as COVID-19 cases rise

The latest in British Columbia:

  • 30 new cases of coronavirus confirmed on Thursday.
  • 1 new death in a long-term care home.
  • 16 people in hospital.
  • 3 people in intensive care.
  • 304 cases remain active.
  • 190 people have died.
  • 2,898 people have recovered.

B.C. will limit the number of people allowed on rental properties and boats, including houseboats, as COVID-19 cases continue to climb in the province, officials said Thursday. 

The new provincial health order will apply to all rental properties, including services like Airbnb.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the limits will be based on the size of the rental, but did not provide specific numbers or say when the order will go into effect. She said health authorities are working with the industry to determine those details. 

The province is urging British Columbians to avoid gathering in large groups after a recent spike in cases. There were 102 new infections diagnosed between last Friday and Monday, 70 of which, said Henry, have been linked to parties and other events in Kelowna over the past several weeks.

“We need you to keep your groups small,” Henry said. “The actions of a few… can cause a tremendous impact.”

The province confirmed 30 new cases on Thursday, and 34 on Wednesday when stricter rules were placed on restaurants, bars and nightclubs.

Under those rules, all patrons in restaurants, bars and nightclubs must be seated, ordering from the bar will not be allowed and dance floors are closed.

Close to 1,000 British Columbians are currently in self-isolation.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the past two weeks have delivered some “hard lessons.” He’s urging British Columbians to continue following protocols that flattened the curve in the spring: hand washing, physical distancing and wearing a mask.

“Wearing a mask does not take away the obligation to physically distance,” he added. 

Premier John Horgan urged British Columbians to not backslide on progress made so far.

He made it clear he’s concerned about recent case counts stemming from parties in Kelowna, and a large drum circle at a Vancouver beach earlier this week. 

“Come on. You’re better than that. We need bigger spaces and fewer faces,” he said Thursday. 

“The challenge ahead of us is enormous. COVID-19 is still very much in our community and we have a collective responsibility to do what we can to defeat it.”

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