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Kelowna party boat still cruising despite B.C.’s heightened ‘circuit breaker’ restrictions

There is confusion about how party boats fit into B.C.’s newly heightened COVID-19 restrictions.

Last Monday, the province announced a “three-week circuit breaker,” closing indoor dining at restaurants and indoor adult fitness classes.

Provincial officials have also been telling people to continue to only socialize outside, as the province deals with a surge in new cases.

It’s unclear where that leaves party boats, which do include outdoor space but can sometimes accommodate more than 10 people, which is the maximum number the province says should be gathering to socialize.

The province is allowing “limited operation” of limos and party buses “subject to restrictions respecting hours of operation and distancing of passengers.”

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A large party boat was filmed docking in Kelowna Saturday evening after taking a group on a boat ride on Okanagan Lake.

Interior Health said, in general, party boats fall under orders for vacation accommodation so are not permitted and any private boat with more than ten people would also not be permitted.

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However, the health authority then declined to comment on what was depicted in the video specifically.

“Cases are rising throughout the province right now and we expect people to follow the current public health orders. Everyone needs to stick to their bubble indoors and continue to use their layers of protection to minimize transmission of the virus. If gathering outdoors, do so safely with up to the same ten people, while still maintaining distance,” medical health officer Dr. Silvina Mema said in a statement to Global News after the video was shared with the health authority.

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The operator of the party boat seen docking in Kelowna on Saturday night, Kelowna Cruises, declined to comment when contacted by Global News.

– with files from Kimberly Davidson and Jamie Tawil

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