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Exception for residents living alone in Metro Vancouver in COVID-19 health order

Last Updated Nov 8, 2020 at 2:28 pm PDT

(iStock, Photo)

People living alone in regions under two-week provincial health order can see people in their bubble

The province explains the meaning of 'immediate household'

The Ministry of Health clarifies going for a walk is not considered a 'social gathering'

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — People who live alone don’t necessarily have to spend the next two weeks alone despite the new ban on social gatherings in some Metro Vancouver regions.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced the order Saturday for the Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health regions — the two largest health regions where the majority of COVID-19 infections have been — that restricts social gatherings of any size in private homes with people who aren’t part of the immediate household for the next two weeks.

But Henry said an exception can be made for those who live alone.

“It’s very challenging for those who live alone, and yes, those are where you can have those very small number of people in your bubble,” she said Saturday.

“So it means if you do have one or two people that you’re close with, that you’re considering your family, your bubble, your household, then stick to those people.”

Those who live alone aren’t allowed to host any gatherings but can keep seeing who they consider being their immediate family outdoors and in restaurants.

While the term “immediate family” has caused a bit of confusion, an email from the Ministry of Health explains it as “the people you spend the most time with and are physically close to. These would be people who are part of your regular routine so household members, immediate family, a close friend or the people you have regular close contact with (for example a co-parent who lives outside the household).”

Henry notes the situation varies from person to person.

“We’ve talked about going down to six. For some people that is a lot, and for many people that have large households, that may be way too many,” she says.

The health order is in effect until Nov. 23 in order to “give us a chance to stop transmission” of the virus, Henry said.

The Central Coast and Bella Coola Valley are exempt from the order.

-With files from Liza Yuzda