Some restrictions might be lifted once B.C.'s vaccine cards are fully in place

People wear face masks as they wait to cross a street in Montreal, Sunday, August 9, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS-Graham Hughes

Until then, the mask mandate and current capacity limits are expected to remain. Depending on the violation, fines of $230, $575 or $2,300 can be handed out for breaking a public health order.

"These (orders) will supplement what we need to do right now as we're moving forward with the B.C. vaccine card," Henry said.

"What we hope as we move through these next few months with the B.C. vaccine card is once it is only immunized people who are at these discretionary events, these social events, these businesses, we'll be able to remove those capacity limits because we know that we've mitigated the risk of so much transmission."  

The B.C. government initially hoped to enter Step 4 of its restart plan on Tuesday, though that has been put on hold due to a spike in COVID-19 cases fuelled by the highly contagious Delta variant. 

Step 4 is the final stage in the province's COVID-19 recovery plan. Personal gatherings, organized gatherings and workplaces would all "return to normal" in that phase. Instead of COVID-19 safety plans, businesses, exercise facilities and sports could operate with communicable disease prevention guidance.

Social contact would be back to normal and mask wearing would be a personal choice, but people would still be asked to stay home when sick and get tested if COVID-19 symptoms develop.

Henry said officials are looking at balancing restrictions to get through the fall with the minimum number of disruptions.

"We can mitigate this risk a lot by having people immunized," she said. "I am hopeful that we will transition over the next few months and by Oct. 24, if we get enough people to step up and get protected … that we'll be able to increase the numbers of people so that we will be somewhere near what we had envisioned in Step 4 of the restart."

The original criteria set out by the government for entering Step 4 of the restart plan included getting 70 per cent of the adult population vaccinated with at least one dose, as well as keeping case counts and hospitalization numbers low.

Health Minister Adrian Dix noted weeks ago the province easily passed the first target earlier this summer, but said the Delta variant threw a wrench into B.C.'s progress on the other two fronts. 

With files from CTV News Vancouver's Andrew Weichel and Kendra Mangione