Like you, we are eagerly awaiting Premier Horgan’s address this week, where he will provide more details about the provincial government’s plans for reopening the economy. Based on messaging from public health officials, we predict that many of the physical distancing measures currently in place are likely to remain, in some capacity, for the foreseeable future. As such, we want to provide you with some of the key points about re-opening that have been discussed so far.
Last week, the federal, provincial, and territorial governments released a joint statement outlining "criteria and measures that need to be in place in order to begin to take steps to restart the economy." These criteria, as stated in the release, are:
- COVID-19 transmission is controlled, so new cases are contained at a level that our health care system can manage.
- Sufficient public health capacity is in place to test, trace, isolate, and control the spread of the virus.
- Expanded health care capacity exists to support all needs, including COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients.
- Supports are in place for vulnerable groups, communities, and key populations. This includes the protection of seniors, residents of group living facilities, workers in close quarters, homeless people, and Indigenous people and those living in remote locations, health care workers and other essential workers, and inmates.
- Support and monitoring of workplace protocols are in place to keep Canadians safe at their jobs, and prevent the introduction and spread of COVID-19.
- Restrictions on non-essential travel are eased and managed in a coordinated manner.
- Communities are supported in managing local disease activity, including in child care, schools, and public transportation, and industry and economic sectors are engaged to support the health of Canadians, reduced viral activity, and protection of the economy as it restarts.
While we are all looking forward to the easement of non-essential travel restrictions, there will certainly be many measures that businesses will need to take to welcome visitors while also keeping them safe. In a call last week, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Lisa Beare, reminded businesses of Dr. Henry’s message: when considering reopening, businesses must have a process to reopen safely, ensure safety measures are in place to avoid future outbreaks, and have a plan in case an outbreak does occur. In her address today, Dr. Henry referred to a number of health and safety measures we should keep in mind, like having plexiglass barriers in stores, reducing the number of people in a shop at one time, and increasing the cleaning of high-touch areas.
More thorough industry directives will likely be provided in the weeks to come. The BC Centre for Disease Control has already created a guiding document specifically for the hotel sector, which addresses a variety of points including how to support guests in self-isolation, how to enhance cleaning and deliver housekeeping, how to manage waste, and more.
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