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Safety guidelines not ready for regulated medical services in B.C. to reopen yet

Last Updated May 14, 2020 at 6:45 am PDT

FILE - B.C. Premier John Horgan talked with the prime minister about the coronavirus pandemic Friday, March 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

Guidelines are to help medical services such as dentists, chiropractors, and physiotherapists

Premier also announces plan to create more than 1,200 jobs and clean up orphaned and inactive wells in northern B.C.

John Horgan said he's not expecting teacher job losses

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) — Safety guidelines to help regulated B.C. businesses reopen are still being finalized as the province readies to enter Phase 2 of its economic restart plan after the Victoria Day long weekend.

Those guidelines are meant to help medical services such as dentists, chiropractors, and physiotherapists keep their employees and clients safe.

“That does not mean that every hairstylist, every restaurant, every massage, physio, or chiropractic service will be opened on a particular day. It’s when we start that process,” Premier John Horgan said the same day B.C. extended its state of emergency another two weeks and until the foreseeable future.

He added WorkSafe BC and the public health officials will have guidelines later in the week or early next for regulated medical services, such as dentistry and chiropractic offices.

“The holdup is we want to make sure we get it right,” he said.

“And for those practitioners who are awaiting those guidelines, I think they can take some fairly educated guesses on how they can protect their patients, how they can protect hygienists and other dental assistants, to put in place the parameters that make them comfortable as healthcare providers to deliver that service,” he said.

“But I don’t want people to believe that on the 19th of May, all of a sudden we’re back to normal. We are not going to be back to normal. We’re going to start the process to bring back industries that were ordered shut by Dr. [Bonnie] Henry, and she’ll be revising her orders at the appropriate time.”

Horgan also announced a plan to create more than 1,200 jobs to clean up orphaned and inactive wells in northern B.C.

“This is an environmental strain on British Columbia. It’s been reported on by the auditor general repeatedly, calling on British Columbia and the industry to clean up its act, and today I’m happy to say, with a $120 million injection of funds from the federal government as part of the COVID-19 response, a welcome investment, we will be able to continue the cleanup of an Orphan wells legislation that we passed the last year put us in a good position to start this process will be able to protect our environment and fight climate change,” he said.

The funding will help us decommission reclaim or restore more than 2,000 orphaned or inactive wells communities in the north.

Horgan also said he and Education Minister Rob Fleming will make a statement on Friday, but is not expecting teacher job losses.

“Quite the contrary, as we look at new models, we’re going to probably see an increase in a requirement for teachers and support staff. Challenges about international students are very real, but I think it’s premature to talk about the impact of what that might mean here in May, when we’re talking about the school year in September.”

Horgan was also reluctant to talk about programs for the tourism industry.

“Because for now, we want people to stay close to home.”