B.C. to restart from COVID-19 in four phases

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  • Premier John Horgan on Wednesday (May 6) outlined how B.C. is going to restart from COVID-19.

    The restart will be done in four phases, and it begins in the middle of the month of May.

    “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.”

    According to B.C.’s Restart Plan, the series of steps are designed to protect people and ensure that the province can come back from COVID-19 stronger than before.

    Phase 1 (Where B.C. is at right now)

    Essential Services Operating During COVID-19:
    Essential health and health services
    Law enforcement, public safety, first responders and emergency response personnel
    Vulnerable population service providers
    Critical infrastructure
    Food and agriculture service providers
    Transportation
    Industry and manufacturing
    Sanitation
    Communications and information technology
    Financial institutions
    Other non-health essential service providers
    Industries that were designated as essential services developed safe operation plans in consultation with WorkSafeBC and in compliance with the public health orders issued by the Provincial Health Officer.

    Phase 2 (Mid-May onwards)

    Under enhanced protocols:

    Restoration of health services
    Re-scheduling elective surgery
    Medically related services:
    Dentistry, physiotherapy, registered massage therapy, and chiropractors
    Physical therapy, speech therapy, and similar services
    Retail sector
    Hair salons, barbers, and other personal service establishments
    In-person counselling
    Restaurants, cafes, and pubs (with sufficient distancing measures)
    Museums, art galleries, and libraries
    Office-based worksites
    Recreation and sports
    Parks, beaches, and outdoor spaces
    Child care

    Phase 3 (June to September)

    If transmission rates remain low or in decline, under enhanced protocols:

    Hotels and Resorts (June 2020)
    Parks – broader reopening, including some overnight camping (June 2020)
    Film industry – beginning with domestic productions (June/July 2020)
    Select entertainment – movies and symphony, but not large concerts (July 2020)
    Post-secondary education – with mix of online and in-class (September 2020)
    K-12 education – with only a partial return this school year (September 2020)

    Phase 4 (To be determined)

    Conditional on at least one of the following: wide vaccination, “community” immunity, broad successful treatments

    Activities requiring large gatherings, such as:
    Conventions
    Live audience professional sports
    Concerts
    International tourism
    The timing of a safe restart of night clubs, casinos and bars is a more complicated consideration. 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.

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