VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — From blow drying your hair at home before heading to the salon, to buying clothes without trying them on, Tuesday’s kickoff of a slow and methodical re-opening of B.C.’s economy will reveal an unfamiliar world to many who have been cooped up at home.
“In this phase, we are asking people to stay close to home and avoid any travel between communities that is not essential,” says the province’s website.
If the curve stays flat and “transmission rates remain low or in decline,” the province says travel within B.C. may resume in Phase Three, which is set to begin in June.
B.C.’s Restart Plan allows for museums, art galleries and retail locations to open on Tuesday, as long as they can maintain physical distancing. May 19 also marks the restart of elective and scheduled surgeries.
Dentistry, physical therapy, massage therapy and in-person counselling can also resume under enhanced protocols, as can child care services.
“Like all businesses, child care centres and camps will need to take additional precautions to maintain the health and safety of their employees and the children they are caring for. For many child care centres that operated as essential services during the pandemic, they have already adapted and are operating safely. But reopening more child care centres will be a key part of getting more parents back to work,” says the province.
New measures in the retail sector will see some stores requiring masks and/or gloves for customers, and many are not allowing for clothes or other items to be tried on before being purchased, while also limiting returns.
At Mountain Equipment Co-op, any items that you’ve touched but don’t want to buy can be deposited in bins around the store to be sanitized before being restocked.
Dr. Bonnie Henry says it will still be some time before COVID-19 is behind us and restrictions on large gatherings will remain until the latest stages of re-opening.
“We’re not through this yet, but there are important things you can do to protect you and your loved ones, neighbours and colleagues. The little things make a big difference,” says the province’s website, listing a number of precautions as essential to recovery, including:
- Frequent hand washing
- Avoiding touching your face
- Coughing/sneezing into your sleeve
- Disinfect frequently touched surfaces
- Stay at home and away from others if you’re feeling ill
- Maintain physical distancing outside your household
- No handshaking or hugging
- Small numbers of contacts
- Keep a safe distance
- Clean your home and workspace more often
- Consider using non-medical masks when physical distancing isn’t possible (on transit, while shopping, while receiving personal services)
Restaurants, cafes, and pubs are also able to open starting Tuesday, however, many have opted to push their relaunch dates to give themselves more time to prepare.
New WorkSafeBC protocols for restaurants include using large menu boards or disposable menus, installing decals on the floor to control the flow of patrons, and minimizing the use of shared kitchen equipment and appliances.
In addition to these measures, restaurants must ensure physical distancing between tables, meaning many will be forced to cut their capacity to allow for more space.
-With files from The Canadian Press