VICTORIA, B.C. – Premier John Horgan rolled out the Provincial plan to slowly restart the economy by allowing small groups of friends to get together and allowing some businesses to reopen.
The Province is trying to find the right balance between suppressing the transmission rate for COVID-19 and getting people back to work. The Province is rolling out core guidelines for personal self care, social interactions with extended family and friends and guidelines for safe practices in organizations and public institutions (details of the guidelines are below).
Dr. Henry says residents can start to expand their contact with extended family or small groups of friends. The guidelines focus on small groups of between 2 to 6 guests while maintaining a safe physical distance. Anyone with symptoms of a cold, flu or COVID-19 should avoid any socializing.
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The announcement today did not say specifically if schools will return to normal operations this school year. The Province said further information will be announced by the Ministry of Education in the coming days.
The changes will be rolled out in phases, with B.C. currently in phase one. The next phase will include small changes.
Each business sector will need to review the guidelines revealed Wednesday and make sure they can meet the guidelines before opening. Sectors that were ordered closed will be asked to work with WorkSafeBC to develop plans to reopen safely.
Below are more detailed guidelines for each industry.
The Province hopes to open the following business types by the middle of May:
- Restoration of health services
- Re-scheduling Elective Surgery
- Medically-related services
- Dentistry, Physiotherapy, Registered Massage Therapy, Chiropractors
- Physical therapy, speech therapy and similar
- Retail sector
- Hair salons/ barbers/other personal service establishments
- In-person counselling
- Restaurants, cafes, pubs – with sufficient distancing measures
- Museums, art galleries, libraries
- Office based worksites
- Parks, beaches and outdoor spaces
- Transit Services
- Child care
Day use areas for Provincial Parks will reopen May 14.
By June Province will allow most Provincial parks to open for regular camping. Camping reservations will start on May 25, 2020 using discovercamping.ca.
Film and TV production, along with movie theatres, will also be permitted to open along with spas and non-medical massage businesses. Hotels and resorts will also be allowed to open during this phase.
Each of these businesses will have to have enhanced protocols like more frequent cleaning, touch-less technology, or smaller groups.
In September, the Province hopes to resume full post-secondary education with a mix of online and in class options. For K-12 education, they expect only a partial return this school year.
Large gatherings like concerts and conventions won’t be allowed until at least one vaccine is available, or there is community immunity or a broad successful treatment for COVID-19.
Core Guidelines for Personal Self Care
- No hand shaking.
- Practicing good hygiene: frequently washing your hands and covering your cough.
- Maintaining reasonable physical distance when out in the community and using a non-medical mask or face covering in situations where reasonable physical distancing cannot be maintained.
- If you have the symptoms of a cold, flu, or COVID-19 stay at home and keep a safe distance from others until those symptoms have completely disappeared.
- If you are at greater risk (older than 60, compromised immune system, underlying chronic medical conditions) get informed about risk, assess your own risk tolerance, think through and apply extra precautions and heightened vigilance.
Core Guidelines for Social Interaction
- A clear policy for not socializing when you have the symptoms of a cold, flu, or COVID-19, including coughing or sneezing.
- Maintain regular social contact with extended family or small groups of friends – but only in small groups (between 2-6 guests) while maintaining a safe physical distance.
- These considerations are especially important when visiting people who are more vulnerable to the health impacts of COVID-19.
Core Workplace Guidelines
- Actively promote and monitor personal self care actions in your organization.
- Actively promote and implement the core measures for managing social interaction in your organizational
setting in congregate social areas (kitchens, staff room, canteens, shared public spaces).
- You must have clear policies to enable and ensure that individuals who have the symptoms of a cold, flu, or Covid-19 including any coughing or sneezing should not come into the workplace. As part of opening your specific settings, you should implement sick day policies for the coming twelve months that actively work with individual staff being off sick more often or working safely at home during these illnesses. As employers you must take leadership in this regard with routine screening/questions of staff for symptoms checking.
- Require and sustain higher levels of frequent cleaning of “high touch” areas in workplaces and retail outlets throughout the day and availability of hand sanitizer stands at entrances or around workplaces and shops.
- Where appropriate and practical increase use of temporary physical barriers (such as plexiglass at service counters or checkouts).
- Focus on how you will support and accommodate higher-risk populations including those 65+ and those with underlying medical conditions. Workplaces, retail and personal service businesses are encouraged to exercise greater accommodation for these age groups in terms of work space, more flexible hours of work or shopping (earlier, later, mid-day) or working at home options.