Life in Vancouver

Vaccinations and Lockdown Lifting!

Health officials launched the Restart BC plans on Tuesday which have given us the steps out of the lockdowns and circuit breaker that we’ve been in since November (ish)!

Vaccination bookings are now open to all aged 12+ across BC too, and I got my first shot this week.

It’s been a funny old ride watching the news for both BC and the UK since Covid shut things down last March. To begin with, BC was doing an excellent job of protecting its people and keeping the virus away – our numbers stayed low and we were secretly feeling quite smug about how well our health officers were handling the chaos. Meanwhile the UK was going through first and second waves with death tolls way higher than any of us ever expected to see in a single month, let alone day. But then came November and suddenly the UK was strongly beginning its vaccination process and bringing hospitalisations down, while BC’s case numbers were surging and any hope of vaccination circulation was far in the distance. The two countries flipped almost overnight, and when Boris Johnson announced the road map out of lockdown we were suddenly sheepish for our earlier smugness and jealous of the progress being made with no sign of BC coming out of the “circuit breaker” we found ourselves in.

Over the summer last year we were allowed a “safe six” who we could socialise with in or outdoors, remaining socially distanced while inside. Then in November when the cases and hospitalisations surged we went back into lockdown – we were still allowed into restaurants, cafes, and shops but only with our household (or if you lived alone you were allowed to form a bubble with two other individuals – I have a friend who “bubbled” with us for this reason). You weren’t allowed to socialise with anyone other than your household/bubble – you could go for walks with people, but you weren’t allowed to stop and chat. You also weren’t allowed to travel outside your immediate community. This went on til March when there was another surge and they brought in a circuit breaker for an unending amount of time. We were no longer allowed to eat indoors, only patio dining and take out was allowed. We were, however, allowed to pick 10 people to meet outdoors, socially distanced. Eventually they gave us an end date for the circuit breaker, which was midnight on Monday!

Tuesday lunchtime brought the Restart BC news, outlining the stages of opening the province will undergo. Starting May 26th with two households or five people being able to gather indoors, and the continued 10 people outdoors, but no longer limited to the same 10 consistently – and it’s up to the individuals as to whether they will mask up or not. Restaurant dining and indoor seating in cafes were back on the cards, and you can now meet people from other households in these places too. And we’re allowed to travel beyond our immediate communities, but must stay within our health zone (for us that’s a couple hours north, south to the border, east a couple hours, and we’re already as far west as you can go).

They’ve given us estimated dates for next steps, dependent on how the vaccine rollout and case numbers go, but it looks like we’re on track to be back to almost normal by around September. I just had an email from church telling us they’re planning to begin hybrid services mid-June to allow the max. number of people in the church and the rest to watch from home. In the meantime we can picnic in the park together after services and meet in small groups. Yay!

In terms of vaccinations, for a long time they weren’t advising pregnant women to get the vaccine, and then suddenly at the end of April they 180’d and were prioritising pregnant women to get vaccinated. Shortly after that, they invited all 30+ to book, so both Tom and I booked our vaccines – I had a couple days head start on him so got my first dose on Wednesday and his first will be on Tuesday next week. They had been working on a 16 week gap between first and second doses, but have now shortened it to eight weeks – so we’ll both be due our second dose the week after our baby is due!

I quite enjoyed the vaccination experience. I’ve become quite used to being jabbed with needles over the course of pregnancy so wasn’t at all phased by the idea of this one. I booked mine at UBC (the University of British Columbia, where Regent is based). The Vancouver area is well known for being used for film sets for generic US looking places, and UBC is often used for futuristic offices, and I think walking around often feels like you’re in the before shots of a dystopian movie. So turning up at one of these sci-fi looking buildings for my jab was quite fun! There was a sense of excitement in the air, and the man that administered my vaccine was hilarious, and joking around with me and the other vaccinators around him. He made a joke about at one point which I thought was quite entertaining…

I believe 60% of adults have now had their first dose in BC so it’s looking promising that we’ll stay on track for the next Restart BC date and our daughter may not be born into total Covid weirdness. Huzzah!

If you want to check out the actual opening up details you can click here!

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