British Columbia unveils reopening plan
British Columbia has a reopening plan and it starts in the coming weeks. On Wednesday, Premier John Horgan outlined how the government plans to do that.
B.C. isn't releasing an official timeline with exact dates, but Horgan said that gatherings of two to six guests will be permitted by the May long weekend.
Residents are allowed to hug their family members and friends, but Horgan cautioned that people with loved ones that are immunocompromised may want to refrain from doing so.
By mid-May, B.C. will gradually reopen healthcare services, including dental care, family doctor offices, physiotherapy and chiropractic services, and elective surgeries.
We know it’s been challenging and we want to thank everyone for their patience during these unprecedented times. For more information on the parks reopening and BC’s Restart Plan visit https://t.co/utC6VFUr1i— George Heyman (@GeorgeHeyman) May 6, 2020
Phase one will similarly see the return of services like hair salons, retail stores, museums, libraries, restaurants, pubs, office-based workplaces, transit, sports leagues and child care.
Provincial parks will open for day trips on May 14.
Bars and casinos are off the table for now, and gatherings of more than 50 people — including "rock concerts or conventions" — are also unlikely to happen anytime soon.
If transmission of the virus remains low, B.C. will reopen hotels, movie theatres and overnight camping in provincial parks sometime between June and September as part of Phase Two.
Today we announced BC will begin reopening provincial parks & rec sites on May 14 as part of our Restart Plan. Ever since we closed parks, we have been working on a plan to reopen that will establish clear safety & cleaning protocols to protect staff & visitors alike pic.twitter.com/UsbcPR0P4f— George Heyman (@GeorgeHeyman) May 6, 2020
Schools will reopen in September, with smaller class sizes and increased sanitization protocols.
Horgan said that faith-based gatherings may resume again as long as it's safe to do so.
"It's about common sense," he said. "You can't have fifty people jammed into a small space, but you can have fourty-nine people in a larger space."
For now, B.C. officials say that the goal is to return to about 60 per cent of normal interactions without causing a surge in infections.
Horgan says that B.C. has been "extraordinarily successful" compared to other jurisdictions, but he cautioned that the province must be opened gradually.
"We can't give up the ground we've made," he said. "It's not quite time to get back to regular operating procedure."
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