BC’s Restart Plan: What you need to know
The BC Restart Plan outlines the careful reopening of the economy in a four-phased approach. We are currently in Phase 1, during which “essential services” have been able to operate.
If your business has been ordered to close by a provincial or regional health order you cannot open before the order is officially lifted. BC will enter into Phase 2 from mid-May onward, which allows industries including the retail sector, hair salons, art galleries, and restaurants and cafes (with sufficient distancing measures) to reopen, among others. At the bottom of this post we’ve listed which industries will be able to open during the different phases.
Once you are able to reopen, businesses will be required to develop a COVID Safe Plan. Businesses that have operated as essential services during Phase 1 of the pandemic may need to update their COVID Safe Plans to fit with updated guidelines and best practices. WorkSafeBC won’t be reviewing or approving individual plans, but businesses could be subject to a WorkSafeBC inspection where employers will be asked about the steps they have taken to protect their workers.
How to develop and communicate your COVID Safe Plan
Employers preparing to resume operations must develop plans to reopen safely, which includes assessing the risk of COVID-19 transmission in your workplace, and developing measures to reduce these risks.
A guide developed by WorkSafeBC is a starting point for developing your COVID Safe Plan. It covers the following steps:
- Assess the risk at your workplace
- Implement measures to reduce the risk e.g. cleaning and hygiene, maintaining physical distance
- Develop policies e.g. who can be at the workplace, how to address illness that arises
- Develop communication plans and training
- Monitor your workplace and update your plans as needed
- Assess and address risks from resuming operations
In addition, WorkSafeBC is currently working with industry stakeholders to prepare industry-specific protocols that employers can use to help develop their individual plans.
- The British Columbia Restaurant and Foodservices Association has built a set of best practices for the re-opening of in-restaurant dining: Blueprint For Reopening In-Restaurant Dining
- The Retail Council of Canada has prepared a document detailing best practices from retailers around the world on operating their business during the COVID-19 pandemic: Playbook on Customer Health and Safety – Retail Council of Canada
- Small Business BC has written on article with additional tips for earning customer trust: Earning the Trust of Customers As BC Reopens
Good News for the Restaurant Sector
- On May 13th the BC government announced B.C. restaurants will be able to purchase liquor at wholesale prices and get expedited provincial approval for expanded outdoor liquor service. This will help ensure restaurants that want to extend patios don’t face significant delays from the province.
- Also on May 13th, the City of Vancouver Council passed a motion for “Flexible, Innovative & Expedited Patio Permitting” in order to help move dining outside when restaurants reopen. More information will be available soon.
The Phases of BC’s Restart Plan
Phase 1 enabled industries designated as “essential services” to operate including:
- 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
- Industry and manufacturing
- Communications and information technology
- Financial institutions
- Other non-health essential service providers
BC will enter into Phase 2 from mid-May onward. During Phase 2 the following industries are allowed to carefully reopen:
- Restoration of health services
- Re-scheduling of elective surgery
- 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 takes a staggered approach to reopening. The following industries are set to reopen during this time:
- 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)
The timeline for British Columbia’s Phase 4 is currently unknown.
As directed by Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, our province can only move to Phase 4 when one of the following conditions is met:
- Widespread vaccination against COVID-19
- “Community” immunity
- Broad successful treatments
Activities/Industries Reopening under Phase 4
- Live audience professional sports
- International tourism
SBIA Open Letter to Vancouver Coastal Health and City Council – Supervised Injection Sites Consultation Process
The SBIA has penned an open letter to Vancouver Coastal Health and City Council regarding recent public consultations spearheaded by Vancouver Coastal Health with respect to the two new supervised injection sites in our community. A copy of the letter is below or click HERE to view our op-ed published in the Vancouver Sun.
Proposed locations for the sites are:
- The new DTES Mental Health and Substance Use Drop-In-Centre at 528 Powell
- The Heatley Integrated Health Centre at 330 Heatley
An open letter to Vancouver City Council and Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH)
On September 21st, Vancouver Coastal Health’s Chief Medical Health Officer announced the location of two new proposed supervised injection sites for the Downtown Eastside (DTES), both of which are slated to open in early 2017 in Strathcona. As the representative body of 450 businesses, the Strathcona Business Improvement Association (SBIA) welcomes the opportunity for meaningful consultation on this important matter, because what our community comprising 9,000 residents and 7,000 employees has been afforded to-date borders on shameful.
With three open houses scheduled in the middle of the work day, during the middle of the week, we gather that “official” consultation on this matter is now considered complete. This raises concern for us, not to mention the broader question as to whether this is the type of process Vancouverites can expect from Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) when proposing supervised injection sites in other neighbourhoods.
In a hurry to prepare applications in response to a grave increase in overdose deaths throughout the city, VCH raced through the required process. Only a handful of the business owners and residents we work with were aware of the VCH-led open houses or had an opportunity to attend the sessions and provide input. The session I attended had less than twelve participants present.
The SBIA supports supervised injection sites and recognizes the need for these facilities, but they represent just one pillar of an overarching strategy. What is not clear at this juncture is what additional resources will be provided to support these new sites and ensure the safety of those who will use and work in them, as well as Strathcona residents, customers, and business owners who live, work and play in the community where these sites will soon operate.
As the city?s oldest neighbourhood, Strathcona has deep roots in the business community of modern Vancouver, serving as a gateway to the city for those arriving by road, sea and rail since the mid 1800?s. A “starter neighbourhood” historically, Strathcona remains a vibrant mix of industrial businesses and single family homes despite a noticeable lack of traditional amenities such as grocery stores, parks, neighbourhood pharmacies and walk-in health clinics, express transit service, sports fields, public pools or ice rinks, a community police centre, or even a post office.
Members of the SBIA are proud to be part of the DTES. However, ongoing public health issues like overdose related deaths in the area have prompted the need for renewed and meaningful dialogue with Vancouver?s policy makers on our urgent resourcing needs. Rubber stamping policies that address one issue, albeit a critical one, will not solve the broader problems communities will encounter, and could easily create new ones.
Strathcona business owners already cite safety as a primary concern due to an increase in homelessness, open substance use, and often, misinformation about the issues at hand. Currently, the Vancouver Police Department?s DTES BEAT Patrol ends at Gore Street, the border of Strathcona, but there were no indications at the VCH open houses that additional resources will be directed to the help the VPD extend their patrol into Strathcona, which experiences the same issues that are prevalent a few blocks away.
Supervised injection sites cannot exist in a silo, removed from the broader community fabric, especially amongst the mix of businesses and homes bordering the two new sites. In order to truly move the dial on issues that affect all Vancouver neighbourhoods, we need to work together – government, business, residents and advocates – to develop holistic approaches that address the health challenges we currently face. This begins with up-front, open and collaborative stakeholder engagement to ensure the community understands the importance and impact of supervised injection sites, and continues with a multipronged approach to both harm reduction and safety.
The Strathcona Business Improvement Association welcomes the opportunity to host a working session with members of Vancouver City Council, Vancouver Coastal Health and any business owner, resident, or stakeholder that wishes to build a better city.
We hope you will be in touch.
Strathcona Business Improvement Association