Victoria, BC (WNews)- The Government of BC has unveiled the plans to reopen or restart the BC Economy. At the press conference with Premier John Horgan, Health Minister Adrian Dix and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry unveiled the plans to reopen the economy.
Premier John Horgan mentioned that the days of going to work sick is over as most people would. He noted that people going to work sick are “villains’ who endanger other co-workers.
The goal of B.C.’s reopening plan, according to public health officials, is to allow for a return to about 60 percent of normal interactions, without causing a surge in infections.
“It won’t be the flipping of a switch. We’ll be proceeding carefully bit by bit, one step at a time,” Premier John Horgan said.
“If we lose this discipline, everything we’ve worked towards will be lost.”
The province set out guidelines Wednesday for the reopening of some sectors of the economy, on the understanding that physical distancing and hygiene measures can be maintained.
“We will not move ahead until it’s safe to do so,” Horgan said. The priorities beginning in mid-May will include rebooting parts of the health-care system that have been idle, like dental care, physiotherapy and chiropractic, scheduled surgeries, outpatient services, diagnostic testing and imaging services.
British Columbians can also expect the return of services like hair salons, retail stores, museums, libraries, restaurants, pubs, office-based workplaces, transit, sports leagues, provincial parks and child care. Nightclubs, bars and casinos are unlikely to reopen any time soon, and the ban on gatherings of more than 50 people will remain in place.
“If we lose this discipline, everything we’ve worked towards will be lost.- John Horgan
Conventions, large concerts and live audiences at team sports are out of the question, and Horgan said road trips and non-essential travel to other communities should still be avoided.
Restaurants, cafes, and pubs can reopen for sitdown services by mid-May if they can show plans for physical distancing and work with WorkSafe. Other sectors can reopen if they can establish procedures for safely.’
No Canucks game can happen with fans until phase four, but Horgan talked that the NHL can hold games to restart the season if needed.
A true return to normal won’t be possible until a vaccine has been developed and administered across the province, effective treatments are available or there is widespread immunity to the novel coronavirus.
In order to reopen, B.C. employers must have clear policies to make sure that anyone who has symptoms of a cold, the flu or COVID-19 does not go into work, provincial health officials said.
Sick day policies have to be developed on the understanding that staff will stay home, sick more often, the province says, and employers need to come up with plans to accommodate seniors and those with existing medical conditions.
“It won’t be the flipping of a switch. We’ll be proceeding carefully bit by bit, one step at a time,” – Premier John Horgan
Filming and Movie Theatres can reopen around June/July. Provincial Parks will open up once again for day-use by the May Long-weekend, but park users should use the park closest to them and not travel. Camping and other parks to reopen in Phase three.
K-12 education – will be a partial return this school year in September with a mix of use of in-person learning and online technologies. The BC Government has been working on how to handle reopening places of worship with faith leaders across the province. Still, they are expected to limit social distance,g including using online technology.
Support for Transit and Translink is expected to happen within weeks as Translink has been reducing services due to plummeting users and revenues.
Phases for Reopening BC Economy
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Based on these factors, steps can be taken to reduce the risk, including:
- Physical distancing measures – measures to reduce the density of people
- Engineering controls – physical barriers (like plexiglass at checkouts) or increased ventilation
- Administrative controls – clear rules and guidelines
- Personal protective equipment – like the use of non-medical masks