As of Friday, more than 75 per cent of all adults in B.C. have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

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For the last year, 22-month-old Maddy’s best friend has been a giant teddy bear named Rosco. Her parents, Kathy Leung and Terry Wong, aren’t sure how Rosco is going to feel when Step 2 of the B.C. Restart plan kicks in on Tuesday, and Maddy can finally have playdates with real live friends, but they are looking forward to it.

“She’s very social, and she’s missed out on some of the socializing, and organized activities that kids her age would normally have,” said Leung.

And Leung and Wong have missed out on developing friendships with other new parents. For the last year, playdates have been hanging out with Rosco, walks to the park, and cheery pit stops on neighbourhood strolls.

“We stop to say hi to everyone out watering or gardening,” said Leung.

Wong, a graphic designer, illustrator and Elvis tribute artist, is also looking forward to a return to performing: outdoor gatherings of up to 50 people, including birthday parties, backyard BBQs, block parties are part of Step 2.

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It’s also good news for bars and restaurants that will now be able to extend hours of liquor service until midnight.

Tap and Barrel owner Daniel Frankel said he is “hugely excited,” and is hoping this restart sticks.

“Everybody felt we were close to getting back to normal at this time a year ago, and it has felt a bit like Groundhog Day or the Twilight Zone where we are stuck in this abnormal reality ever since,” said Frankel.

This time last year, as B.C. began its first phased reopening, a Graham Harrop cartoon in The Vancouver Sun appeared with the caption: “Must be getting close to phase three, Dr. Henry’s giving her update from The Tap and Barrel.”

But by September, as numbers started to surge, Henry closed nightclubs, and banquet halls and curtailed hours for indoor dining.

The key difference for this year’s restart plan is vaccines. The move to Step 2 of B.C.’s four-step restart plan is contingent on the province reaching a threshold of at least 65 per cent of the 18+ population vaccinated with their first dose, and continued declining case counts and hospitalization numbers.

On Friday, health officials announced that more than 75 per cent of all adults in the province have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Step 2: New things you can do

Personal gatherings:

• Outdoor personal gatherings up to 50 people such as birthday parties, backyard BBQs, block parties.
• Playdates.

Organized gatherings:

• Indoor seated organized gatherings up to 50 people with a COVID-19 Safety Plan.

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Travel:

• Provincial travel restrictions lifted.
• Recreational travel within B.C. allowed.

Businesses:

• Liquor served until midnight.
• Banquet halls can operate with limited capacity and a COVID-19 Safety Plan.

Offices/workplaces:

• Continued return to the workplace.
• Small, in-person meetings allowed.

Sports and exercise:

• Indoor high intensity group exercise allowed with reduced capacity.
• Indoor games and practices for both adults and youth group/team sports allowed.
• No spectators at any indoor sport activities.
• Outdoor spectators up to 50 allowed.

dryan@postmedia.com


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