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Common Questions

Find answers to some of the most common questions about COVID-19.

What you need to know

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses found mostly in animals. In humans, they can cause diseases ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). The disease caused by this new coronavirus has been named COVID-19. While many of the characteristics of COVID-19 are still unknown, mild to severe illness has been reported for confirmed cases.

B.C. has declared a state of emergency and a public health emergency. Find the latest information about confirmed cases in B.C. and the surveillance report on our website. You can find the latest press statements and videos of the press briefings on the BC Gov News website.

‎In B.C., we all must follow Provincial Health Officer (PHO) orders. In a Provincial State of Emergency, the PHO can make orders as needed. 

BC’s Restart Plan lays out a phased approach to ease restrictions, allow people to increase their social circles, re-open some public spaces and provide economic opportunities. It can be found here:

How it spreads

‎Coronavirus is spread from an infected person through:

  • Droplets spread when a person coughs or sneezes
  • It can be spread by touch if a person has used their hands to cover their mouth or nose when they cough or sneeze.
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands.
Droplet Contact: Some diseases can be transferred by infected droplets contacting surfaces of the eye, nose, or mouth. For example, large droplets that may be visible to the naked eye are generated when a person sneezes or coughs. These droplets typically spread only one to two metres and quickly fall to the ground. Influenza and SARS are two examples of diseases capable of being transmitted by droplet contact. Currently, health experts believe that coronavirus can also be transmitted in this way.

Airborne transmission: This occurs when much smaller evaporated droplets or dust particles containing the microorganism float in the air for long periods of time. Transmission occurs when others breathe the microorganism into their throat or lungs. Examples of diseases capable of airborne transmission include measles, chickenpox and tuberculosis. Currently, health experts believe that coronavirus cannot be transmitted through airborne transmission.
There have been instances of transmission before the person became sick or when a person's symptoms were so mild that they did not know they were sick. However, it is unclear if this contributes to significant spread of the virus in the population. Most people become ill from being in close contact with someone who shows symptoms 
such as coughing and sneezing, therefore transmitting the virus through droplets. We continuously review the evidence and update information regularly.
The risk of COVID-19 transmission by cash and documents is low and is expected to be similar to other common surfaces such as doorknobs and handrails. 
It is safe to handle cash and documents. However, it would be advisable to wash your hands frequently, and always before eating, after using the washroom, and before touching your face. 
Refusing cash could put an undue burden on people who depend on cash as a means of payment. 

Protective measures against COVID-19

In addition to physical distancing, the most important thing you can do to prevent infection is to wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your face. To help reduce your risk of infection:
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Using soap and water is the single most effective and preferred way of reducing the spread of infection.
  • If a sink is not available, alcohol based hand rubs (ABHR) can be used to clean your hands as long as they are not visibly soiled. If they are visibly soiled, use a wipe and then ABHR to effectively clean them.
  • Do not touch your face, eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
  • Do not share food, drinks, utensils, etc.
  • Facemasks are not recommended or required for people who are not sick and are not healthcare workers.
If you are sick
  • Stay home when you are sick and avoid close contact with others in your home if possible.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. Wash your hands.
  • Use the BC COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool or visit the testing page to help determine if you need further assessment or testing for COVID-19.

‎Physical distancing is limiting close contact with other people to slow the spread of an infectious disease. An example of physical distancing is keeping about two meters (six feet) or the length of a queen-sized bed apart from others. Physical distancing is proven to be one of the most effective ways to reduce the spread of illness during an outbreak. Even though we are not sick, we need to make changes to our everyday routines to stop the spread of germs between people.

There are many ways to practice physical distancing:  
  • Stay home as much as possible 
  • Use technology to keep in touch with friends and family 
  • Host virtual play dates for your kids 
  • Use food delivery services or online shopping
  • Exercise at home or outside alone
  • Work from home and conduct virtual meetings
In public
  • Keep about two meters (six feet) or the length of a queen-sized bed apart when possible
  • Keep your hands at your sides
  • Greet others with a wave instead of a handshake, a kiss or a hug
  • Shop or take public transportation during off-peak hours when possible
  • Avoid crowded places and all in-person gatherings of any size are strongly discouraged.
  • Limit contact with people at higher risk of getting sick (e.g. older adults and those in poor health).

‎At this time in B.C., we are all encouraged to stay home as much as possible. If you do leave your home to go shopping, take public transit or go to work, use common sense approaches to prevent infection and transmission:

  • Wash your hands often  and avoid touching your face with unwashed hands 
  • Try to use public transit or go to stores at off peak times
  • Do not go shopping, take public transit or go to work if you are sick
  • If you have to cough or sneeze, make sure you sneeze or cough into a tissue or the crook of your arm (elbow) and then wash your hands.
  • Many malls, shops and stores are limiting their hours or closing their operations entirely in order to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in B.C. 
  • Consider only shopping once per week for essential supplies and use food delivery services or online shopping where available. 
  • Avoid crowded places and if a store is busy, consider going somewhere else.
  • If you are older or have health conditions, consider asking your family, friends and neighbors to help you get the supplies you need. 
  • Retail stores are now planning to resume services in mid-May. BC's Restart Plan provides more detailed information about the province's step-by-step process to re-open different sectors.
Returning to work
WorkSafeBC has developed industry specific guidelines to assist businesses and employees during the second phase of BC's Restart Plan. For up-to-date information please visit the WorkSafeBC and BCCDC websites.
You must comply with the parenting agreement or court order that gives parenting time or contact with a child to another person. You should not change the current schedule unless there is a good reason to believe your child’s safety is at risk. Parents may have to temporarily adjust parenting time schedules if the child or parent must self-isolate, is sick, or has been exposed to someone who is sick. More information is available on the BC Government website.


Right now, there are no vaccines to prevent COVID-19. However, researchers are working hard to develop a vaccine.


No, the flu vaccine does not protect against COVID-19.

Medical masks and N95 respirators should be reserved for healthcare workers.

Any mask, no matter how efficient at filtration or how good the seal, will have minimal effect if it is not used together with other preventive measures, such as frequent hand washing, physical distancing and not touching your face.

The use of homemade cloth masks is a matter of personal choice. They can help to contain droplets from your mouth or nose but they will not protect you from COVID-19. 

If you are sick, you should stay home. Wearing a mask does not make it okay to go out but it can help prevent the spread of germs at home. More information about masks, including homemade masks, can be found on our Masks page.

Wearing a non-medical mask or face covering is a matter of personal choice. 

A non-medical mask or face covering acts as a barrier and helps stop the tiny droplets from your mouth and nose when you are talking, coughing, or sneezing from entering the air and landing on other people or surfaces around you.

While non-medical masks and face coverings are helpful in containing your own droplets, they will not protect you from COVID-19. Masks and face coverings do not replace maintaining a safe distance of 2 meters from others when you are out, regularly and thoroughly cleaning your hands, and staying home if you are sick. They are another prevention tool you can use to help stop the spread of germs. 

Medical masks and N95 respirators should be reserved for healthcare workers. During healthcare procedures in which aerosol sprays may be generated (for example, when giving certain inhaled medications or during intubation), healthcare workers wear specialized masks and personal protective equipment (PPE) to provide a barrier against infectious diseases like COVID-19.

If you choose to wear a non-medical mask or face covering it is important to not touch your face when wearing it. A false sense of security can occur and it is likely to increase the number of times a person will touch their own face. There is a potential risk of infection with incorrect use, incorrect placement, and when putting it on or taking it off.

Guidance and more information about who should wear a mask and homemade masks can be found on our Masks page.

No, Health Canada cautions that people should only use products that are on their approved or interim list of hand sanitizers. Serious problems such as burns, poisoning, lung problems and allergic reactions can occur if people use non-approved products. Non-approved products may not be effective against COVID-19 and give people a false sense of security.

If you can't buy hand sanitizer, wash your hands! Washing your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds is the most effective way to reduce the risk of spreading all germs, not just COVID-19. 

Mobile phones or other high touch electronics (keyboards, touch screens) are frequently handled items where germs can live and spread to others. Before cleaning or disinfecting your electronics, read the manufacturer's instructions to ensure there are no warnings or products that should not be used. You can clean your phone and other electronics by using disinfectant wipes or sprays with at least 70% alcohol at least daily. Dry your device thoroughly right after and never immerse it in any liquid. 


Supplies and preparation

Plan ahead and take time to consider what you will do if you or a family member becomes sick and needs care. Have supplies on hand so you do not need to leave your home if you become ill. Think about:
  • What food and household supplies you need for you and your family
  • What medicines you need, including renewing and refilling prescriptions ahead of time
  • Discuss your plans with your family, friends and neighbors, and set up a system to check in on each other by phone, email or text during times of need.
Learn more about being prepared from the Government of Canada.
If you are using infant formula, or thinking about using it, then you should have enough formula on hand to last for 14 days (two weeks). Infant formula is available in retail and online stores. There is an adequate supply of infant formula in the province. However, some retailers cannot restock fast enough due to people purchasing more than they usually do. 

If you can’t find the formula you normally use:
  • If you are combining breastfeeding and formula feeding, consider breastfeeding more often to increase your milk supply. If you have recently stopped, it may be possible to restart. Find out more from HealthLinkBC
  • Try a different brand or type of formula (ready-to-feed, liquid concentrate or powder). Any formula labelled for use from 0 to 12 months is safe for your baby, unless your baby is on a special formula. If so, contact your health care provider.
  • CAUTION: Do not dilute formula with extra water to make your supply last longer. This will not provide your baby with the nutrition needed for healthy growth. 
If you have run out of infant formula and need advice on acceptable short-term alternatives, call 8-1-1. 

COVID-19 has not been detected in human milk. Human milk has antibodies and immune factors that protect the health of an infant. See the frequently asked questions on COVID-19 and breastfeeding for more information.  

You can also call 8-1-1 for breastfeeding support.  


The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to other respiratory illnesses including Influenza and the common cold. Symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sore throat and painful swallowing
  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Loss of sense of smell
  • Headache
  • Muschle aches
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite

Sometimes people with COVID-19 have mild illness, but their symptoms may suddenly worsen in a few days.  People infected with COVID-19 may also experience symptoms like diarrhea, nausea and vomiting a few days after the onset of the above symptoms. If you have only gastrointestinal symptoms you may not have COVID-19. 

For more information, visit our Symptoms page.

The COVID-19 self-assessment tool, developed with the BC Ministry of Health, will help determine whether you may need further assessment or testing for COVID-19. You can complete this assessment for yourself, or on behalf of someone else.
  • You can download the COVID-19 BC Support App and Self-Assessment Tool Support App onto your mobile device. The Self-Assessment Tool is built in. The app will also let you receive the latest updates, trusted resources, and alerts for B.C. 
  • If you do not want to download the app, you can access the web version, but it is best viewed on a mobile device. 
There is no current evidence that ibuprofen makes COVID-19 worse. 
  • Ibuprofen is part of a group of medicines called NSAIDs and includes brand names like Advil and Motrin.
  • These medicines help with pain, fever or inflammation. 
  • Acetaminophen, which includes brand names like Tylenol, also helps with fever.
  • If you take ibuprofen to treat another condition, you should continue taking it. 
  • To treat symptoms like fever, we recommend first using acetaminophen. If it isn’t available, you can use ibuprofen as an alternative.

At this time, the available information suggests the incubation period is up to 14 days. The incubation period is the time from when a person is first exposed until symptoms appear.‎

What to do if you are sick

‎If you develop cold, influenza or COVID-19-like symptoms, go to the testing page or use the BC COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool to help determine if you need further assessment for COVID-19 testing by a physician, nurse practitioner or at a local collection centre. You can complete this assessment for yourself, or on behalf of someone else, if they are unable to. 

Go to our If you are sick page for details on how to stop the spread of germs, what to do if your symptoms get worse and ending self-isolation.

Please avoid going to the emergency department for COVID-19 testing. Examples of reasons to go to an emergency department include if you or someone in your care has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, as these may be signs of a life-threatening emergency. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately. 

If you think you might have COVID-19, use the BC COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool. The tool will help determine if you need further assessment for COVID-19 testing by a physician, nurse practitioner or at a local collection centre. You can complete this assessment for yourself, or on behalf of someone else, if they are unable to. 

If you live in a household with someone who has COVID-19 it is important to clean and disinfect common areas regularly. Go to our If you are sick page for details on how to stop the spread of germs, what to do if your symptoms get worse and ending self-isolation.

For cleaning, water and detergent (e.g., liquid dishwashing soap) or common household cleaning wipes should be used. Apply firm pressure while cleaning. Surfaces should be cleaned at least once a day. Next, use a store bought disinfectant or diluted bleach solution, one part bleach to 50 parts water (20 ml of bleach to 1 litre of water), and allow the surface to remain wet for one minute. Clean surfaces that are touched often (e.g., counters, table tops, doorknobs, toilets, sinks, taps, etc.) at least twice a day.‎‎
This information will help you feed your baby safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Wash your hands before and after holding your baby, breastfeeding/preparing infant formula and feeding your baby
  • Wear a mask while you have symptoms (e.g., cough, sore throat, fever, sneezing).  Masks are not recommended for children under two years old. For more information see our Masks page.
  • Clean and disinfect high touch surfaces often
  • Wash and disinfect all infant feeding supplies carefully after each use. Learn more here.
  • Stay connected with support persons while practicing physical distancing and avoid others who are unwell
  • Limit the number of people who feed your baby
Information for families who are breastfeeding and provide expressed breast milk

Currently, health experts have not found COVID-19 in human milk. If you are breastfeeding or feeding your child expressed milk, continue to do so as often as possible. 

You can find more information on how to safely breastfeed your baby and/or young child during COVID-19 here

Information for families who use infant formula

For families who have made an informed decision to use infant formula, continue to safely prepare and store infant formula as described on the product label.

You can find more information on how to safely feed your baby during COVID-19 if you are using or thinking about using infant formula here

Reach out to local health care providers for any urgent concerns, or call 8-1-1 to speak with a nurse or dietitian at HealthLinkBC.

Isolation and self-monitoring

Self-monitoring means you should be monitoring your health and the health of your children for symptoms such as fever, cough or difficulty breathing. Individuals who are self-monitoring are allowed to attend work and school and take part in regular activities.

For more information about self-monitoring, go to our Self-isolation page.
Self-isolation is used to lower the chance of spreading infectious germs to other people by avoiding situations where someone could infect others. Self-isolation is one important way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in B.C.

People at high-risk of having been exposed to COVID-19 are asked to self-isolate as there is a small chance you can spread germs in the days before you feel sick. This is called an incubation period, the time between being exposed to an infection and when you start to feel sick.

You must stay at home, in a hotel or similar place, and avoid all contact with others.

A number of groups of people including international travellers returning to Canada, contacts of a COVID-19 case, and people with symptoms or who are positive for COVID-19 are required to self-isolate. 

Detailed information can be found on our Self-isolation page.

‎A number of groups of people are being asked to self-isolate. Learn more on our Self-isolation page.

As of March 25, 2020, by Emergency Order under the Quarantine Act it is mandatory for any person entering Canada by air, sea or land to self-isolate for 14 days whether or not they have symptoms of COVID-19. There are some individuals who are exempt from this order to provide essential services. Spot checks will be conducted by the Government of Canada to verify compliance.

Other individuals who are required to self-isolate include those who are a confirmed case of COVID-19 or a close contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19. These individuals are monitored by Public Health, both their health and their activities. If people do not voluntarily self-isolate, Public Health can use legal powers under B.C.’s Public Health Act to ensure that self-isolation occurs.

At this time, international travellers, close contacts of a COVID-19 case or a COVID-19 case are all required to self-isolate. All of these groups will have been told to self-isolate either by Canadian Border Services or Public Health. Self-isolation is required under either the Emergency Order under the Quarantine Act or B.C.’s Public Health Act.

All of us have a role to play to slow the spread of COVID-19 and reduce the risk for vulnerable populations in our communities. Ways we can all reduce our risk of COVID-19 are to stay at home as much as possible and stay at home if you are sick. If going out in public, in addition to physical distancing, the most important thing you can do to prevent infection is to wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your face.


COVID-19 testing is done using samples collected by a nasopharyngeal swab (NP) or throat swab. The BCCDC Public Health Laboratory (PHL) has developed laboratory guidance for COVID-19 diagnostic testing. If your health care provider thinks you may have the new coronavirus, they will arrange for testing.


If you develop cold, influenza or COVID-19-like symptoms, visit the testing page or use the BC COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool to determine if you need further assessment for COVID-19 testing by a healthcare provider or at a local collection centre. You can complete this assessment for yourself, or on behalf of someone else, if they are unable to. 

Unless a test is recommended by a medical health officer or a healthcare provider, an individual that has no symptoms, even if they are a contact of a confirmed case or a returning traveller, do not require a test.


The BC COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool will help determine if you need further assessment for COVID-19 testing by a physician, nurse practitioner or a local collection centre. Safe testing may be available at different health care settings, including your doctor's office, walk-in clinic, collection centre or urgent and primary care centre. 

A collection centre is a location where a person can be assessed and get tested for COVID-19. You can call 8-1-1 to find the nearest centre or click on the links below.

Another place to get tested may be an Urgent and Primary Care Centre and locations are listed on HealthLinkBC.


Yes. People who are vulnerable to COVID-19 complications should get tested if they develop symptoms, even if they are mild. Physicians and nurse practitioners may have a lower threshold for testing people who are more vulnerable to complications from COVID-19, or people who care for these individuals. 

People without symptoms do not need to be tested for COVID-19 unless it is recommended by a medical health officer or a health care provider.

‎The time until test results are available may vary depending on testing location. Throughout B.C., there are many labs running tests seven days a week to get test results back as soon as possible. Go to the Test Results page to find out how to get your negative results by phone, text or online.


It is important to stay at home and avoid contact with others (self-isolate) after your test. Our Self-isolation page has information on how to self-isolate, self-monitor your symptoms and what do if you start to feel worse or need medical care.

The BCCDC COVID-19 Negative Results line (1-833-707-2792) is open from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM, seven days a week. It may be easier to get through to someone on the line in the afternoon when the call volume is generally lower. Go to the Test Results page to find other ways you may be able to get your negative results by phone, text or online. 

Test results are not available in-person at the BCCDC. Additionally BCCDC is only able to provide verbal results through the COVID-19 Negative Results line. Hard copies of results are not available.
Antibodies help protect you from getting sick. They are proteins created by your immune system (i.e., the system that defends against infections) that float around your body and look for viruses or other pathogens that cause illness. When they find a virus, they attach to it and that signals to your body to destroy the virus before it has a chance to make you sick. Your body produces many types of antibodies but each kind will only attach to a specific virus. Your body has to be taught how to make the antibodies for each virus. It learns how to make antibodies by being exposed to the virus after getting sick, or by getting immunized. It may take up to 7 to 14 days for our body to make antibodies to a new infection.  
For new viruses, like the virus that causes COVID-19, your body does not have the antibodies needed to protect itself. That’s why it is important to take precautions, like washing your hands and staying physically apart, to prevent getting sick.
The BCCDC Public Health Laboratory (PHL) and Provincial Laboratory Medicine Services are collaborating with the National Microbiology Laboratory and Health Canada to assess the accuracy of and performance of COVID-19 antibody testing before making it available. This information is important to know in order to appropriately interpret the results of the test (for example, understanding what are the chances of an inaccurate result). 
This kind of testing can identify whether a person produces antibodies that will help them fight off COVID-19 infections. Because there is no vaccine yet available for COVID-19, the only way a person can develop antibodies is from being previously infected. It may take up to 7 to 14 days after symptoms start for our body to make antibodies to a new infection, and so these tests are generally not helpful in making a diagnosis of COVID-19 infection. However, these tests can determine if someone has antibodies to COVID-19, which measures the levels of antibodies in a person’s blood after infection. 
COVID-19 is a new illness so there is not enough information yet to know how long or if at all, a person will be immune if they’ve previously been infected and developed antibodies. A strategy is being developed for how antibody testing will be used in BC to better understand how many British Columbians have been infected and how much protection that offers.

Treatment and medical care

There is no specific treatment for COVID-19. Information about specific medications, drugs and vaccines can be found on the Treatments page.

Many of the symptoms can be managed with home treatment such as drinking plenty of fluids, rest and using a humidifier or hot shower to ease a cough or sore throat. Most people recover from coronaviruses on their own. For people with more serious illness supportive care in or out of hospital may be needed.

For more information on what you can do if you have symptoms, see:
Yes, it is important to keep immunizations up to date. 

Immunization is an essential service and health units are continuing to hold clinics during COVID-19. However, services may vary. 

Clinic changes have been made to ensure safety. 

Visit ImmunizeBC for the latest information on immunization during COVID-19.

Patients with urgent health emergencies should go to the hospital or call 9-1-1 if they are choking, experiencing signs or symptoms of heart attackstroke, have broken bones or wounds that may need stitches. If in doubt, call 9-1-1.

Physicians, nurse practitioners and midwives have been provided guidance so they can continue to provide care safely during the pandemic. Contact your health care provider for information about appointments. Child Health BC has information to help parents and caregivers assess their child's medical care needs during the Pandemic.

  • Patients who have chronic health conditions should continue to seek medical care for health conditions and have a two-week supply of medication on hand.
  • Immunization is an essential service and health units are continuing to hold clinics during COVID-19. Visit ImmunizeBC for the latest information.
Allied health professionals including but not limited to diagnostic imaging, laboratory, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, massage therapy, dietetics, speech and hearing health, prosthetics and chiropractic services have also been provided guidance so they can provide care safely during the pandemic.

Dentists are only treating urgent dental emergencies in their offices. Patients with dental pain, swelling, infection or trauma must first be assessed by their dentist over the phone. Full dental services, including hygiene care, will be introduced gradually and when it is safe to do so. Learn more here:

Optometrists are only treating urgent ocular or eye emergencies. Patients who have an eye emergency should contact their local optometrist for guidance. Full services will resume gradually in a way that promotes safe care of patients while continuing to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Use our Find a Doctor tool to find the nearest optometrist: 

People with non-urgent health related questions can call
8-1-1 for advice available any time and every day of the year.

Events and gatherings 

At this time, all in-person gatherings of any size are strongly discouraged. The Provincial Health Officer encourages everyone to practice physical distancing to limit transmission of COVID-19. These efforts are not forever but are important for now. 

On May 22, an Order of the Provincial Health Officer restricts all public gatherings to no more than 50 people or vehicles. This includes indoor and outdoor sporting events, conferences, meetings, religious gatherings, drive-ins or other similar events.
Marriage commissioners can choose to proceed or not with weddings, as they see fit. Marriage commissioners may require further restrictions on the number of guests at wedding ceremonies to five people; the couple and two witnesses. 

If physical distancing is not being practiced, marriage commissioners may refuse to proceed until the ceremony can be managed in an appropriate manner. Large weddings should not be planned at this time. For more information on weddings, visit the BC Government website.

School, daycare and workplaces

During March, 2020 the B.C. government suspended K-12 classes. Teachers and schools developed plans for continuing education outside of the classroom.

As of May 15, 2020 the government has announced that parents and students will have the option to return to part-time in-class instruction on June 1, with the goal of returning to full-time classes in September 2020 if it is safe to do so.

For more information on K-12 schools visit:


To help workers stay safe at work during the COVID-19 outbreak, WorkSafeBC has compiled health and safety information for employers and workers.

Go to WorkSafeBC for current health and safety information as well as additional guidance for industries returning to safe operation during phase 2.‎


At this time, the Provincial Health Officer has advised British Columbians to avoid contact with anyone they do not live with, and directed people to avoid any non-essential travel.

As carpooling presents a challenge to maintain proper physical distancing, the PHO is encouraging employers to allow their staff to work remotely during this pandemic, where possible.

If you must travel to work, or share a vehicle for work, you should continue to follow the guidance of the PHO to limit transmission of COVID-19, including:

  • Stay home if you have any symptoms of illness for at least 10 days until your symptoms are completely gone.
  • Stay at least 2 metres away from other people.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your face.


Yes. Incoming travellers are screened at all borders – land, sea and air. Visit our Travel page to learn more 
Unless you are exempt, all international travellers returning to B.C. are required by law to self-isolate for 14 days and complete a self-isolation plan. Travellers must submit a B.C. self-isolation plan and complete the federal ArriveCAN application prior to arrival or upon their return to B.C. 

More informaiton is available on the BC government website for returning international travellers.

British Columbians are encouraged to stay in their own communities and avoid non-essential travel at this time. As the province moves into phase 2 and phase 3 of B.C.'s Restart Plan, more guidance on travel within the province will be provided. 

All returning travellers are encouraged to self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19. If you have questions, or you start to feel symptoms, contact your health care provider, 8-1-1, your local public health unit, or complete the COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment tool.
Many Canadians become ill and require medical assistance when they are outside of Canada. If you get sick when you are travelling, here’s how to get help:
  • Most major tourist hotels have in-house doctors who can provide medical care. Hotels can also arrange appointments with local physicians.
  • If you have travel insurance, contact the local number you may have been given or the assistance centres in Canada and ask for a referral.
  • If you need urgent care, the best option is often the nearest hospital. In some countries, ambulances may not be common. Use whatever form of transportation you have to get to a hospital. 
Please go to the Government of Canada Assistance abroad Emergency information for more details. Go to the COVID-19: Your safety and security outside Canada for information about how to stay safe outside of Canada and how to get help to return home. 

Children are included with all international travellers returning to B.C. who are required by law to self-isolate for 14 days and complete a self-isolation plan

Parents of children in daycare or school have no special requirements unless it is your child or family that travelled outside of Canada. It is important for everyone to practice respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene, and make sure children stay home when they are sick.

Daycares or schools, please refer to our Childcare & Schools section for guidance.

Employees who are returning international travellers are required by law to self-isolate for 14 days and complete a self-isolation plan
  • The BC Government provides details on how to comply with the Quarantine Act, how to complete your isolation plan and the assessment process upon arrival in Canada.
  • There are some individuals who are exempt from this order to provide essential services, but they still require a self-isolation plan and self-monitoring for symptoms.
  • Learn about self-isolation, self-monitoring, what to do if you get sick, and how to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on our Self-isolation page.
Employers please refer to our Employers & Businesses section for guidance.

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