Long weekend travel: B.C. officials urge residents to be cautious amid 4th wave in pandemic

A sign displayed at a BC Ferries terminal during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Shutterstock)

Health officials are reminding British Columbians to be cautious this Labour Day long weekend as COVID-19 case counts continue to soar.

Dr. Bonnie Henry urged anyone planning get-togethers to consider taking extra precautions, such as limiting guests to people who are vaccinated.

On Thursday, 801 new cases and six deaths related to the coronavirus were announced.

The majority of cases are in the Fraser and Interior Health regions, but a rapid spike of new infections in Northern Health triggered new restrictions for that area.

PREPARE FOR BUSY TRAVEL ON BC FERRIES

BC Ferries is encouraging travellers to make reservations to avoid sailing waits over the long weekend.

“Historically, the most popular travel times are Thursday and Friday afternoon, as well as Saturday morning, with many travellers departing from Tsawwassen and Horseshoe Bay terminals,” a travel advisory from BC Ferries said.

Labour Day Monday and the following Tuesday morning are typically the most popular times for people to return from Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast.

MORE REGIONAL RESTRICTIONS COMING

Parts of the Northern Health Region have only a 55 to 60 per cent vaccination rate.

Officials are hoping tighter measures will stop the surge in cases there.

Beginning Tuesday, indoor gatherings will be restricted to one other family or five guests, while outdoor gatherings are limited to 50 people.

Organized outdoor events of more than 200 people will need a COVID-19 safety plan in place.

Regional restrictions also remain in place for the Central Okanagan.

Indoor and outdoor dining is limited to groups of six people and liquor service ends at 10 p.m.

Only establishments with a full meal service are open, so the majority of nightclubs and bars are closed.

Gatherings in vacation rentals, including houseboats, are limited to five guests, plus the occupants.

Outdoor personal gatherings are limited to no more than 50 people, and indoor personal gatherings are limited to five guests or one other household.

Indoor organized gatherings and outdoor organized gatherings are limited to no more than 50 people with a COVID-19 safety plan in place.

As the new don't take place until after the long weekend, Henry suggested anyone planning get-togethers over the Labour Day long weekend consider taking those extra precautions like limiting guests to people who are vaccinated.

Labour Day long weekend is the unofficial end to summer with students scheduled to head back to school the following Tuesday. Details about the province’s proof of vaccination card program will also be released that day.