Continuation of 50% capacity limits at venues throughout the Interior Health region reflects relatively low vaccination rates and the continuing spread of COVID-19, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says.
But Henry suggested Tuesday the capacity limit could soon be lifted to match the full houses now permitted at Vancouver-area arenas, concert halls, and other indoor venues.
"We are looking at this on a day-to-day basis and I do believe it's going to be settling within the next few days and we'll be able to lift restrictions and be able to get back to those important hockey games and other arts, and other events, safely, very soon," she said.
The 50% indoor venue capacity limit has remained in place across the IH region even though new cases of COVID-19 have declined significantly in some areas. New cases in Kelowna, for example, are down 80% from levels seen in mid-August.
But the downward trend has not been as evident in some other parts of IH, and hospitals throughout the region continue to be challenged in terms of caring for patients with COVID-19, Henry said.
"We're not at the point where we feel we can take that risk of allowing this type of activity (100% capacity at indoor venues) to occur with the stresses that are on the health care system right now," Henry said.
She acknowledged, however, that vaccination rates in many areas of IH have risen in recent weeks. The Kelowna area vaccination rate ranges from a high of 91% in Glenmore to 82% in Lake Country and 80% in the rural areas of the Central Okanagan.