Big changes this week in COVID-19 restrictions in British Columbia.

As of yesterday (Sunday, Oct. 24), restaurants and bars across the province now require that all patrons show proof they are fully-vaccinated against the coronavirus.

And starting today, in select communities, including on Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast, capacity limits are being lifted on many activities, such as sporting events, concerts, conventions, and weddings.

According to provincial officials, attendees will still have to show proof of vaccination and wear face masks.

“So we’re hoping to leverage the benefits of the vaccine card, and this is an important first step of that,” said Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, in a press conference last Tuesday.

“And we’ll be monitoring carefully and looking at whether we can take away additional restrictions depending on how things evolve over the next few weeks,” she added.

However, the looser rules don’t apply in regions where infection rates are still high, including parts of the Fraser, Interior, and Northern health regions. Capacity limits in these regions are still capped at 50 per cent.

As well, as of tomorrow, all health care workers in B.C. will have to be vaccinated. Henry said the expansion came to prevent unvaccinated staff who care for seniors from moving to other health-care jobs.