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Facing The “New Normal”

Facing The “New Normal”

Less than two months ago, COVID-19 changed our definition of "normal" and now, as the province begins to enter a gradual reopen, we are facing a "new normal".

Last week, the official plan to gradually reopen BC was released. This plan – with four phases of gradually relaxed restrictions – provides the ways in which health officials are trying to safely restart BC.

Please see below for more information on each of the phases:

Phase 1 (where we are today):

  • Businesses and industries that were designated as essential services operating during COVID-19
  • Businesses and industries that were designated as non-essential services closing for other reasons, including reduced demand; to do their part in helping to “flatten the curve”; and to protect their customers and employees, among others.
  • BC will be ready to proceed to Phase 2 after the May long weekend

Phase 2 (a slow reopening beginning May 19):

  • After the May long weekend, under enhanced protocols the following will be seen:
    • Restoration of health services including the rescheduling of elective surgery
    • Reopening services, such as dentistry, physiotherapy, registered massage therapy, chiropractors, physical therapy, speech therapy, in-person counselling and other similar services
    • Reopening of the retail sector
    • Reopening of hair salons, barbers, and other personal service establishments
    • Reopening of restaurants, cafes, and pubs (provided they have sufficient distancing measures)
    • Reopening recreation and sports services, outdoor spaces such as provincial parks, beaches, etc. and community spaces such as museums, art galleries, libraries, etc.
    • Reopening of office-based worksites
    • Increased child-care support
  • BC will be ready to proceed to Phase 3 if transmission rates remain low or in a decline

Phase 3 (June to September):

  • If transmission rates remain low or in a decline, under enhanced protocols, the following will be reopened:
    • Hotels and resorts (June 2020)
    • Provincial 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 (September 2020)
  • BC will be ready to proceed to Phase 4 if there is at least one of the following: wide vaccination, “community” immunity or broad, successful treatments

Phase 4 (To be determined):

  • Conditional on at least one of the following: wide vaccination, “community” immunity or broad, successful treatments
    • Activities requiring large gatherings, such as:
      • Conventions
      • Live audience professional sports
      • Concerts
    • International tourism
  • Please note that the timing of a safe restart of night clubs, casinos and bars is a more complicated consideration and no information has been released thus far

Here are some ways that all of us can do our part in helping us return to a “new normal”:

  1. Continuing to frequently wash our hands
  2. Avoiding any non-essential time out in public
  3. Wearing masks when out in public
  4. Continuing to practice physical distancing
  5. Staying home when we are sick
  6. Taking a careful approach to broadening our social circles beyond those currently in our households

As long as we continue to follow the above measures, there has been much hope voiced by health officials that we could soon be entering into a “new normal”. Find out more about BC’s plan to reopen here.

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