BC Government Outlines Plan to 'Restart BC' in Phase 2 Beginning Next Week (Mid May)Thursday, May 7, 2020
Vancouver, BC, May 7, 2020--(T-Net)--British Columbians will move forward with restarting their province beginning in mid-May, according to a plan announced by Premier John Horgan.
The Premier, BC Health Minister Adrian Dix and Dr. Bonnie Henry outlined details of 'B.C.'s COVID-19 Go-Forward Strategy' on Wednesday, including how some guidelines will be relaxed to allow for a "new normal", which is expected to last between 12 to 18 months (or sooner if a vaccine is developed).
A variety of business and services are expected to begin reopening in BC as early as next week, including some retail stores, hair salons and barbershops, restaurants and pubs, cafes, libraries, museums art galleries, the opening of parks and beaches, as well as the resumption of elective surgeries, dentists, physiotherapists, registered massage therapists, speech therapists and others in the health services sector.
Starting on the May long weekend, officials said residents will be allowed to have up to half a dozen people over for dinner or a backyard barbecue, according to reporting by the Vancouver Sun.
Under B.C.'s 'Restart Plan', government 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.
"Our plan puts safety first. British Columbians have made enormous sacrifices so far, and it's thanks to them that we're able to begin to lift some restrictions," Horgan said. "We'll allow activities to resume as the evidence and experts tell us it is appropriate to do so. By moving carefully and deliberately, we will help British Columbians get to a 'new normal,' where more of our social and economic life can resume."
BC Premier John Horgan
Restarting economic activity will look different in B.C. than in other jurisdictions, because only a small number of sectors in the province were closed by public health order. Many other provinces are just now reaching the level of safe operations B.C. has been able to maintain throughout the pandemic.
B.C. is currently in Phase 1 of the restart plan.
Phase 2, which will begin in mid-May, includes:
Essential businesses that have remained open during the pandemic, so far, have done so safely with the support of WorkSafeBC. Government says it will build on this 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.
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.
Phase 3 (June to September)
If transmission rates remain low or in decline, under enhanced protocols:
Phase 4 (To be determined)
Conditional on at least one of the following; wide vaccination, "community" immunity, broad successful treatments:
The timing of a safe restart of night clubs, casinos and bars is a more complicated consideration, according to the government. As with other sectors, industry associations will be expected to develop safe operations plans, for review, that are in keeping with Public Health and Safety Guidelines, as well as WorkSafeBC.
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, according to the government.
While B.C. already has sufficient testing and tracking capacity, by continuing to increase these, government says it will be able to identify any flare ups in COVID-19 case numbers and address them. This approach will support public safety and confidence.
"Today, we've unveiled our plan for a slow and safe restart. We need to be vigilant, to make sure we keep flattening the curve of transmission," Premier Horgan said. "There is much more to do. But we will get through this pandemic to better days by working together and keeping each other safe."
For a WorkSafeBC backgrounder, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/BG_Support_for_Workplaces_Resuming_Operation.pdf
For backgrounders on schools and parks, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/BG_Parks_and_Sites_and_In-Class_Learning.pdf
For more information about B.C.'s Restart Plan, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/restartbc
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