On Wednesday afternoon, the provincial government announced BC’s Restart Plan, which is comprised of four phases that will move the province forward safely.
Preparing for Phase 2
We are currently in Phase 1 of the plan and set to move into Phase 2 in mid-May. During Phase 2, sectors that can reopen under enhanced protocols (i.e. retail sector, personal services, restaurants/cafes/pubs, museums/galleries, etc.) will need to work in conjunction with WorkSafeBC to ensure they are compliant with orders from provincial health officers. Many industry associations, like the BC Restaurant & Food Services Association, have started developing industry-specific plans to assist businesses, so be sure to stay tuned for more information.
Phase 2 will also see provincial parks reopen for day use only. Officials are encouraging BC residents to get out and enjoy the outdoor space in their own communities, while still being mindful of those around them and keeping physical distancing measures top of mind.
Travelling in British Columbia
The province’s recommendation against non-essential travel remains for the time being. In Wednesday's announcement, BC residents were reminded that they shouldn’t plan to travel for the May long weekend, nor should road trips to other communities be planned during Phase 2. Once provincial health officials see further evidence that the curve has flattened, they will start to look at opening the borders. Those travelling to BC for essential services will still need to abide by the 14-day self-isolation requirement. Late summer, when it is predicted that we will have moved into Phase 3, was noted as a better time for residents to plan on visiting other communities in BC.
Looking Ahead to Phase 3 and 4
Phase 3 is predicted to start sometime between June and September, dependent on transmission rates remaining low or declining. Camping at provincial parks and other recreation sites is set to resume on June 1 (with some exceptions). Hotels and resorts, as well as select entertainment venues, will be allowed to open under enhanced protocols; however, large concerts and events, as well as meetings and conventions, are not slated to resume until Phase 4, as restrictions on large gatherings (more than 50 people) remain. Moving to Phase 4 is conditional on one of the following being in place: wide vaccination, “community” immunity, or broad successful treatments. International tourism is slated to resume in Phase 4, while the reopening of nightclubs, casinos, and bars is yet to be determined, as it will take more time to develop safe operating procedures for these businesses.
What Tourism Kelowna is Doing
Our team continues to connect residents with local businesses they can support now, while also continuing to create and share content for both locals and visitors so they can #exploreKelownafromhome. We will be updating the second phase of our COVID-19 Action & Recovery Plan to align with BC’s Restart Plan and will look to reactivate destination marketing, in phases, in the weeks and months to come. We will continue to keep you informed of developments and will provide updates on industry assistance for the restart plan as it becomes available.
For more information on BC’s Restart Plan, click here.
If you are a tourism-related business in the Thompson Okanagan, you can register for the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association's (TOTA) Tourism Resiliency Program, which offers one-on-one assistance to support businesses as they navigate COVID-19 resources and programs. Click here for more information.
Join Tourism Kelowna, TOTA, and Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission for a tourism industry town hall on Thursday, May 14, to hear insights from each organization around business recovery and to learn more about recently announced resources available to tourism-related businesses. Click here to register.
Destination BC will also be hosting a Road to Recovery webinar series. The first webinar will take place on Tuesday, May 12, looking at the post-closure traveller. Click here for more information on the webinar series and to register.
Should you have any questions about BC's Restart Plan or Tourism Kelowna's Action & Recovery Plan, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.