VICTORIA, B.C. – The province is easing visitation restrictions at longterm care, and seniors’ assisted living facilities on July 19th.

Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced the changes during a Thursday conference.

Later this month, guests will no longer need to schedule visits, there will no longer be a limit on those visiting a resident, and visitors won’t need to wear a mask if they’re fully vaccinated, unless in common areas.

Seniors programs and Larger, facility-wide social events or gatherings can resume.

“The pandemic has challenged people living and working in longterm care in ways we never could have imagined, but we are now finally in a place where people can safely spend more time together again,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health.

Some restrictions will stay in place for anyone not fully vaccinated.

Frequent COVID-19 screenings are required for workers who are not fully vaccinated and must wear a mask. The same goes for visitors, who will be asked to provide proof of vaccine status.

A PHO order will require all facilities to provide public health with information on all residents, staff, personal service providers, and volunteers so their immunization status can be determined.

“While vital for reducing the spread of COVID-19, we recognize the restrictions on visitors have been incredibly challenging for people in longterm care and their families,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer.

“Because nearly 80% of people in B.C. have stepped up to be vaccinated, we are now in a place where visitation in longterm care can resume in a more normal way. This means residents and their families and friends will be able to spend more quality time together – safely.”

Identified as the most vulnerable population, the province implemented strict restrictions to protect seniors.

Longterm care and seniors’ assisted living workers and residents were among the first to receive first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccinations.