B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Dec. 10, 2020. (B.C. government)

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Dec. 10, 2020. (B.C. government)

B.C. cuts off New Year’s Eve liquor sales at 8 p.m.

Late-night parties lead to risky behaviour, Dr. Henry says

B.C. is moving its 10 p.m. liquor sales cutoff back to 8 p.m. for New Year’s Eve, to reduce the risk of parties getting out of hand and transmitting COVID-19.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced the change Dec. 30, as B.C.’s case count reached 485 new cases. The order change is for New Year’s Eve only, and applies to restaurants, pubs and retail stores that sell liquor. As of 9 a.m. Saturday, the earlier order goes back into effect, allowing sales until 10 p.m.

Henry said the temporary order means that businesses have to close by 9 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, unless they have full meal service later than that. “Restaurants can stay open with meal service, but can not serve alcohol,” Henry said.

B.C.’s daily cases have declined in recent days, with 382 diagnosed cases reported Tuesday, 441 on Monday, 424 on Sunday, 447 on Saturday and 512 cases last Friday, Christmas Day. Daily reported tests results also declined during the holidays, down to 4,675 on Tuesday after reaching highs of as much as 15,000 tests a day during November and early December.

Eleven more people have died.

Henry said shipments of Moderna vaccine have now arrived at 10 remote Indigenous communities in B.C., with vaccinations to begin Wednesday afternoon or Thursday morning. The B.C. Centre for Disease Control has decided to distribute and administer all available Pfizer and Moderna vaccine in the early stages of the rollout, depending on further shipments to provide the second dose recommended by manufacturers for best results.

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