As it has since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the B.C. government is encouraging people to find ways to connect with others while maintaining a safe distance to prevent the transmission of the coronavirus.
That has meant some unusual and awkward pieces of advice over the last seven months, including an infamous news release recommending the use of glory holes, among other tips for pandemic-safe sex.
On Thursday, it meant the provincial government tweeted an endorsement of "air hugs," complete with a graphic depicting two people with their arms outstretched and a safe distance between them. “No handshakes, air hugs only,” the tweet reads, alongside other recommendations.
Many miss our friends & family. Show you care & find other ways to connect. Remember:
�� Stick with the same 6 outside your household. You should be in their 6 and they should be in yours.
�� Keep your distance
�� No handshakes, air hugs only!#CovidBC #SafeSix pic.twitter.com/Jx5q5dqDf3
The advice comes the same day B.C. added a record 425 cases of COVID-19 to its total.
Currently, there are 3,389 active cases of the disease in the province, which is also a record.
As the province's caseload has risen in recent months, health officials have sought to clamp down on private gatherings that have been responsible for much of the spread.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry issued an order limiting gatherings in people's homes to a maximum of six guests from outside the household, with the expectation that the same "safe six" will be the only people the household interacts with face-to-face.
On Thursday, Henry and Minister of Health Adrian Dix recommended against even gatherings of that size in Metro Vancouver, where most of the province's cases continue to be located.
"Right now, when it comes to house parties and gatherings, the message is simple: Don't throw them, don't go to them," Dix said.
Virtual and outdoor gatherings remain the province's preferred options for socializing, and that means air hugs remain the preferred greeting.