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B.C. begins next phase of safe restart plan

Thursday, June 25, 2020 @ 12:17 PM | By Ian Burns


British Columbia is taking the next step in its restart plan with a gradual transition to Phase 3, including the “safe and respectful” return of travel and tourism within the province.

“Thanks to the hard work and sacrifice of British Columbians, and under the guidance of the provincial health officer, we are now entering Phase 3 of our four-phase restart plan,” Premier John Horgan said June 24. “As we carefully turn up the dial on our activity, we can now look to travel safely around the province. But as we hit the open roads this summer, we must remember we are not leaving COVID-19 behind, and we need to continue to do our part to bend the curve and protect the progress we’ve made.”

British Columbians who wish to travel within B.C. this summer are advised to plan ahead and be respectful while visiting communities, especially smaller and rural towns. The provincial health officer has laid out travel guidelines for everyone travelling to and within B.C.:
  • pre-trip planning and research on available resources at arriving destination;
  • respecting any local travel advisories to isolated and remote communities;
  • no travelling for anyone who is sick, and if symptoms develop while travelling — self-isolate immediately and contact 811 for guidance and testing;
  • practising safe physical distancing of two metres at all times;
  • spending time in small groups and open spaces; and
  • practising good hygiene, including frequent handwashing and cleaning.

“Like other activities during our COVID-19 pandemic, summer holidays and travel will be different this year,” Horgan said. “We are asking British Columbians to be respectful of the communities you travel to and do your research before you leave. We will help people get the tools and information they need to navigate this new normal safely.”

WorkSafeBC, public health officials and industry representatives have developed guidelines for hotels and resorts, parks, the film industry and select entertainment, like movie theatres, and businesses in these sectors have already begun to open with COVID-19 safety plans in place.

The government has also formally extended the provincial state of emergency, allowing it to continue to use extraordinary powers under the Emergency Program Act to support the province’s COVID-19 pandemic response. The state of emergency is extended through the end of the day on July 7, allowing government to continue to take the necessary steps to keep British Columbians safe. On June 22, the government introduced the COVID-19 Related Measures Act, legislation to allow provisions created for citizens and businesses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to continue as needed after the provincial state of emergency ends.

“We’re extending the provincial state of emergency, while we work to keep the economy moving and provide more opportunities for B.C. businesses to welcome our communities back,” said Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth. “We’ve also introduced legislation that will allow us to put longer-term solutions in place, so we can continue to provide the support British Columbians need to get through this crisis.”

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If you have any information, story ideas or news tips for The Lawyer’s Daily please contact Ian Burns at Ian.Burns@lexisnexis.ca or call 905-415-5906.