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Safer Social Interactions

Limit social activities to the people you live with. If you live alone, you can continue to spend time with one or two people from a different household. Essential visits can continue.

Last updated: November 24, 2020 at 12:40 PM

Social interaction and getting together with others in person and online is important to our wellbeing. At this time, British Columbians must limit in-person social gatherings to the people they live with. This is not the time to invite friends or family over to your home and do not go to someone else’s home for a social visit. Using technology, such as video calls, to keep in touch with friends and family is a good option right now. The order is in effect until December 7, 2020 at midnight. Find further details about the order and how it applies.

What if I live alone? 
If you live alone, you can spend time with one or two people who live in a different household who are part of your core "bubble" such as a partner, relative, close friend, or co-parent. Keep these people consistent and think of them as your immediate household.

Examples of social activities that should be avoided

  • Having people over to your home or visiting people you don’t live with at their home or vacation rental, indoors or outdoors such as for games, dinner or a backyard hangout.
  • Playdates for children 
  • Hosting events or receptions indoors or outdoors
  • Party buses and group limousines

Examples of essential visits that can continue

  • Providing care or services such as child care, tutoring, cleaning, repairs or moving.

Getting Together Outside

You can go for a walk, bike ride or snow shoe outdoors with a friend or family member you don’t live with if you can maintain a safe physical distance. Make sure these activities do not turn into social gatherings with a group meeting outside.

Outdoor sports are a great way to have fun with others and get some exercise and fresh air. Games, competitions and practices can continue with no spectators and no travel. The only people allowed to attend sport activities are those that provide care to a participant or player. 

To maintain social distancing, choose sports that don’t require a lot of close contact and do not have a lot of shared equipment. And remember to have a first aid kit and hand sanitizer available.

Remember – you’ll need more space between people when playing sports. This is because many sports and recreational activities can make you breath faster and harder, and droplets from breathing or coughing will spread further than normal. Choose sports that don’t require close contact!

To make your sports safer
  • Consider having “no contact” rules
  • Have smaller teams
  • Bring your own water and snacks
  • Bring your own equipment and something to disinfect it with 
  • Bring hand sanitizer, or soap and water to wash your hands before and after play.

Getting Together Inside

Host virtual meetings, hangouts, family dinners or playdates for your kids to stay in touch.

You can continue to engage in social activities like going to a restaurant with the people you live with.

You should only visit a restaurant with people in your household or core bubble. Remember, a maximum of six people at a table. You will be required to wear a mask when you are not seated at a table.

Remember – the less time you spend inside the better!

To make eating in restaurants safer

  • Pick a restaurant that has an outdoor patio.
  • Pick a restaurant that has windows that open, good ventilation and lots of space between tables.
  • Try not to share condiments. Some restaurants offer single-use condiments, so you don’t have to touch shared ones.
  • Choose separate meals; avoid sharing food and utensils and avoid family style eating when possible. If this is not feasible, ask for separate sets of serving utensils to allow sharing safely
  • Wash your hands when you get to the restaurant, and before you leave (or use hand sanitizer if hand washing is not possible). 
  • Opt for takeout and eat outside or at home.
Wearing a non-medical, cloth mask, is now required by both staff and customers in all indoor public spaces such as shopping malls, grocery stores, and other retail settings. 

Money carries lots of germs because so many people touch it. Although there are no documented cases or clusters related to COVID-19 transmission by cash and coin payment, you should clean your hands often if you deal with money.

Here are some easy ways to increase the safety of paying for items when you’re shopping:
  • Call or email the store ahead of time to ask if you can pre-pay and get your receipt electronically. Pick up your items quickly and maintain social distancing.
  • Try to use touch-free payment methods when possible, such as debit cards, credit cards, or mobile phones.

Staying active is an important part of a healthy lifestyle and many people during this time are opting to exercise outdoors rather than go to their local gym or fitness facility. Exercising outdoors (on your own) is the safest option, but if you choose to go to the gym there are a few things to remember.

Certain group physical activities including spin classes, hot yoga and high intensity interval training (HIIT) are suspended for now. Venues that organize or operate other types of indoor group physical activities must suspend them temporarily while new guidance is being developed. These activities include gymnastics, dance studios, martial arts, yoga, pilates. strength and conditioning and cheerleading. Once guidance is completed, indoor group fitness activities will need to update their safety plans and post it publicly.

Gyms and recreation facilities that offer individual workouts and personal training sessions remain open.

When you pack a bag to go to the gym, make sure to bring items that you might normally use communally. 
  • A full water bottle 
  • Hand sanitizer to ensure you have a way to clean your hands between the use of different pieces of equipment (if hand washing is not possible). 
  • Personal items for use in the change rooms (such as hairdryers, deodorant, soaps, etc.). 
  • Your own towel (rather than those provided by a linen service). 
  • If you use equipment during your workout, bring your own if possible (such as helmets, racquets, goggles, yoga mats, gloves, weight belts, ankle guards, etc.)
When at the gym, don’t share water bottles or other drinks, choose exercises that keep you in the same spot and at least 2 metres away from others, and clean or disinfect equipment after use – wait for equipment surfaces to air dry naturally before using. Wash your hands before and after a workout and use hand sanitizer when transitioning between pieces of equipment.

Group classes involve the most risk, so ensure that spacing is adequate or the class is being held outdoors if you choose to participate.

If you use the services of a personal trainer, consider the use of technology for virtual training where possible. If you are meeting with your trainer in person, avoid physical contact during sessions and maintain physical distance. Avoid activities that necessitate close contact (e.g., needing spotters during weight training, sparring in martial arts, and games in contact sports). 


  • Physical distancing is always important when you are with people outside your social group. Keeping a physical distance is the most effective way of preventing the spread of COVID-19.
  • Be patient – you might have to wait longer than usual – for bathrooms, shops or restaurants, or for your children to use playground equipment.
  • Avoid spending time in person if someone is feeling unwell - If any member of your household or social group is sick, or thinks they might be sick, they should not be spending time, in person, with others. People who have symptoms should refer to the COVID-19 testing information to determine if testing is appropriate and follow self-isolation guidelines.
  • Keep a record of the people you spend time with – in the event someone does get COVID-19, knowing who you spent time with and where you've been will help public health with contact tracing
  • Practice good hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette. Try to have hand sanitizer with you when you go out and cough or sneeze into your elbow. Wash your hands before you leave your home and as soon as you return.

Additional Resources

  • Good Times Guide: A playbook for how to have fun and to keep each other safe and healthy.
  • Safer Celebrations: Information to consider to help make celebrations safer for everyone.
SOURCE: Safer Social Interactions ( )
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