Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 16, 2021. (B.C. government photo)

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 16, 2021. (B.C. government photo)

Vancouver Giants games, tournaments see disruptions from new COVID rules

The rapid spread of the new Omicron variant has caused health authorites to tighten restrictions

New restrictions because of the Omicron outbreak of COVID-19 means that the Vancouver Giants will return to a smaller maximum number of fans in January, and other local tournaments may be scrapped.

On Friday, Dec. 17, Health Minister Adrian Dix and B.C.’s chief medical health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced a series of restrictions on public and private gatherings in an attempt to slow the spread of the highly contagious new strain.

The limits include a reduction to 50 per cent capacity for venues with more than 1,000 people, and a pause on all sports tournaments.

The order is in place until at least Jan. 31, 2022.

The Giants have two games left under the old restrictions, this Saturday and Sunday at the Langley Events Centre, before the restrictions take effect on Monday.

Then the team has a Christmas break, and is scheduled to be back on Dec. 27 against Victoria at the LEC.

“So really nothing changes from the first four home games we had this season,” said Dan O’Connor, the director of media relations for the Giants. “The only real change is that we can’t exceed more than about 3,000 fans for a given game. We’ll continue to cooperate with provincial health officials while providing a safe and enjoyable experience for our fans.”

Langley Events Centre staff were looking into what other impacts the restrictions will have.

“We are currently reviewing how the order impacts the events at Langley Events Centre,” said a statement from LEC. “We will continue to follow all of the guidelines set forth by the provincial health authority, including scanning vaccine passports and enforcing mask rules while inside the facility.”

The Tsumura Basketball Invitational just barely avoided being impacted. The last day of the girls tournament was set for Saturday, Dec. 18, before the restrictions return.

However, the restrictions seem likely to impact the Volleyball Showcase tournament, which was scheduled to take place between Dec. 28 and 31 at the LEC, with Trinity Western University, UBC, Alberta, and Laval all scheduled to meet up.

An LEC spokesperson said a decision on the showcase would be announced later, but nothing had been decided in the immediate aftermath of the announcement on Friday.

READ MORE: Sports tournaments, New Year’s parties banned in B.C. Omicron surge

The new restrictions limit household gatherings to one household plus 10 people, or one more household if everyone over 12 is vaccinated, emphasizes the need to actually scan the QR code on the BC Vaccine Card for organized events, and restricts New Year’s Eve organized events to seating-only events.

The new COVID variant was discovered only a few weeks ago, but has been spreading more rapidly than any previous variant.

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