Victoria (with files from CP) – If won’t happen over night, but the BC economy will be re-opened in bite sized chunks and monitoring will be stringent.
According to a plan announced by Premier John Horgan, B.C.’s Restart Plan, will work closely with public health officials, businesses and labour organizations to lift restrictions in phases, gradually allowing for more social and economic activity, while closely monitoring health information to minimize the risk to the public.
Provincial health officer Doctor Bonnie Henry emphasized the point about keep group size restrictions to 50 and under. That will include summer (pro and amateur) sports teams, the retail sector, and hair salons. Physical distancing is going to remain a part of life through the coming summer.
B.C. is currently in Phase 1 of the restart plan. Phase 2, which will begin in mid-May, includes:
- small social gatherings;
- a resumption of elective surgeries and regulated health services like physiotherapy, dentistry, chiropractors and in-person counselling;
- provincial parks open for day use;
- opening more non-essential businesses in keeping with safe operations plans;
- recalling the provincial legislature for regular sittings.
Essential businesses that have remained open during the pandemic, so far, have done so safely with the support of WorkSafeBC. Government will build on this successful experience by supporting all businesses as they take steps toward a successful reopening. Sectors that were ordered closed will be asked to work with WorkSafeBC to develop plans to reopen safely. WorkSafeBC is developing industry-specific guidance to help employers bring workers and customers back safely. Any business restarting operations must ensure it is in compliance with the provincial health officer’s orders and in accordance with occupational health and safety guidance provided by WorkSafeBC.
Phase 2 of BC’s Restart Plan includes *voluntary* expanded in-person schooling for K-12.
The target date for the start of Phase 3, which will include opening up of additional businesses and services, is between June and September 2020, if transmission rates remain low or in decline.
Phase 4 will only be achieved when the threat of COVID-19 has been significantly diminished through widespread vaccination, broad successful treatments, evidence of community immunity, or the equivalent.
Most provincial parks will reopen, starting May 14, for day-use only. On June 1, many remaining facilities, including campgrounds, will reopen. A small number of parks that attract large crowds, or where reopening would pose a health risk to nearby communities, will remain closed.
A strong emphasis on personal hygiene for all British Columbians, including hand washing, physical distancing and staying at home if you are sick, will be crucial for the success of every phase of the plan.