VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) – As we look ahead to what easing restrictions looks like, don’t expect social distancing, hand washing, and other safety measures to go anywhere.
As the province looks toward Phase Three of its Restart Plan, you can expect many restrictions to remain in place.
It’s unclear when exactly the province will usher in the next stage in B.C.’s COVID-19 response, but Premier John Horgan is expected to announce a timeline on Wednesday.
It will bring with it some changes, including the blessing from Dr. Bonnie Henry to travel within B.C. That’s expected to come with a massive marketing campaign from Destination BC, to support domestic tourism.
While the hotel industry wasn’t forced to close when the coronavirus pandemic hit, many chose to shut down. The industry has been one of the hardest-hit by the economic fallout due to the virus.
Many in the accommodation sector are now preparing to welcome guests, and will do so while implementing several measures to help stem the spread of COVID-19. Changes could include rearranging layouts, placing markers on the floor, restricting capacity in some areas, as well as enhancing cleaning protocols.
However, as British Columbians went back to offices, retail, and playgrounds in Phase 2, there was an uptick in cases. That makes the provincial health officer a bit nervous, as the threshold for increasing our bubbles is tight and contact tracing is still a core piece of the province’s COVID-19 strategy.
Modelling data released on Tuesday not only shows a slight increase in new cases during June, but the possibility of continued growth of those during the summer, with recent contact rates estimated to be at 65 per cent of normal.
The modelling suggests a decrease in contact rate to 50 per cent of normal would see the pandemic curve trend downward again through July.
Looking at contacts up to circa 65% from under 40% Dr henry says we are doing ok but need to be mindful that if we go too far to fast with contacts we will see an increase in cases – but some increase in cases is to be expected with increased contacts #bcpoli #covid19 @NEWS1130 pic.twitter.com/GSOnQMYbdj
— LizaYuzda (@LizaYuzda) June 23, 2020
That’s why physical distancing and a limit of 50 people at any gathering will remain in place. All other guidelines and safety precautions brought in during Phase 2 are also going to remain in place.
Phase 3 stretches through the summer, with the film and television industry expected to slowly return to work in July.
“The motion picture and television production industry must have a COVID-19 Safety Plan in place based on the protocols set by WorkSafeBC,” the provincial government’s Phase 3 page reads.
Full time learning in schools this September is also included in this plan, but many post-secondary institutions have chosen to remain online this fall.
“Many institutions have decided to continue with mostly online delivery this fall, while delivering hands-on, experiential training where needed while practicing physical distancing,” the province’s website reads.