Skip to content

Here's why B.C. is not implementing travel restrictions over the holidays

Not everyone should be travelling, underscores B.C.'s top doctor.
Keep your circle small, advises Dr. Bonnie Henry.

B.C.'s top doctor announced new public health orders Tuesday (Dec. 21) only days after several new ones were announced Friday.

The newest rules cover everything from large events to personal gatherings, gyms to dance classes, restaurants to nightclubs, and more. However, one noteworthy order from last holiday season was missing from the announcement: a travel ban. 

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry told reporters in a press briefing that British Columbians hoping to celebrate over the holidays need to keep their circles as small as possible. 

But if you're not vaccinated, you should not be attending gatherings...or travelling. 

While there is no official order on travelling this year, Henry underscored that people should not put themselves or anyone else at risk—and that means that unvaccinated people should not travel. 

"If you are not immunized, you should not be travelling and you should not be gathering," she said. "This virus is spreading very rapidly."

In addition to personal risk, people also bring risk into the communities that they visit, noted Henry. The risk is amplified in smaller communities and travellers should check to see if these places are welcoming visitors right now. 

British Columbians should refer to the etiquette guide from last summer on how to approach travel, particularly to smaller communities. This year, more than ever, it is critical to "know before you go." 

Whether it comes to travelling or gathering, the health officer emphasized that people must "do it safety" and keep things "as small as possible."

"We're seeing lots of transmission in younger people because of that and because it's spreading more rapidly and communities," said Henry. "So find ways to safely gather with elderly relatives. Whether that's wearing masks, doing partly outside...we had lots of innovative ways that people were able to support each other and come together."

Despite rising cases of the Omicron variant in the province, B.C.'s top doctor says people should not get tested if they don't have symptoms. 

While the province has seen a significant rise in the number of fully vaccinated individuals contracting COVID-19, health officials don't recommend everyone gets tested for the virus — even if they have mild symptoms. 

Find out more information about whether you should get tested for the COVID-19