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British Columbia will start lifting COVID restrictions

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks about the province's reopening plan.
Province of British Columbia
B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks about the province's reopening plan.

Officials in British Columbia have announced a gradual easing of COVID-19 restrictions. The news comes after an initial slow start in vaccinations.

The restrictions are slowly being lifted in four steps, now that 60 percent of B.C.’s adult population has been vaccinated with at least one dose.

Like the rest of Canada, painfully slow arrival of vaccines earlier this year has rapidly increased. British Columbia itself is set to receive over 1 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine by the end of the month, with more scheduled for June. Currently, no COVID-19 vaccine can be produced within Canada. 

Unlike many American states, entertainment and sporting events will not see large crowds until the fall.

However, B.C. Premier John Horgan says there are a few more weeks of restrictions left. 

"But the light that we've been talking about for weeks and weeks now is at hand," Horgan said.

While many U.S. states have already removed any mask mandates, they will still be in place for British Columbians until at least July 1. That is when at least 70 percent of the province’s adult population is expected to have at least one dose of vaccine. 

British Columbia Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says there will be no provincial vaccine passport but thinks it is something that will be necessary for international travel.