Gym's back in business

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The B.C. government has extended most of the COVID-19 restrictions imposed last month to combat the spread of Omicron, but is allowing gyms to reopen under new guidelines.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the high levels of COVID-19 transmission still occurring across the province, as well as record numbers of test-positive patients in hospital, mean the bulk of the current measures must remain in place until Feb. 16, at the earliest.

Those restrictions limit the size of household gatherings, ban indoor events such as weddings and funerals, prohibit bars and nightclubs from operating, and strictly regulate the behaviour of diners in restaurants.

Some of the measures have been controversial since they were announced in mid-December, when little was known about the highly-transmissible Omicron variant, but Henry said it's become clear that they have made a difference.

"I know that many people felt that we were overreacting," she added.

"My challenge is to find that balance of making sure we're doing just enough to address the situations we're in and not allowing our system to be overwhelmed."