Premier John Horgan is expected to announce plans this week to enter Phase 3 of B.C.’s restart plan under the COVID-19 pandemic.
The decision will be based on the modelling data presented by provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on Tuesday.
With the spread of the novel coronavirus largely under control during Phase 2 of the reopening plan, Henry has expressed confidence in moving forward.
“We anticipate that the Phase 3 of our restart plan will begin soon and the premier will be sharing more information about this this week,” Henry said.
“We must continue, however, to minimize our cases to manage them quickly and effectively with public health action and with everybody doing their part, and then modify our approach as needed.”
The B.C. government is encouraging people to stay close to home — for now.
When Phase 3 is introduced the province will be giving the thumbs-up to travel within the province. Health officials have not banned travel across B.C. or the rest of the country but have strongly encouraged people to avoid taking non-essential trips.
Destination B.C. is expected to launch a record-breaking advertising campaign to support the local tourism industry and have British Columbians travel in their home province.
The government has also said Canadian visitors from outside the province are welcome but must follow physical-distancing guidelines and restrictions on gathering size. They must also not travel if they are feeling sick.
Hotel, motels, RV parks, cabins, resorts, hostels, lodges, and backcountry operators
The accommodation industry was never ordered to close by Henry, but many operators shut down voluntarily and are now preparing to welcome guests.
The province recommends that travellers connect with their accommodations before check-in and arrive prepared.
Accommodation changes may include a requirement to maintain physical distance from workers and guests when possible.
Layouts may be rearranged, including markers on the floor to designate areas and provide direction to move through spaces. On-site pools, hot tubs, gym facilities, and play areas may have restricted capacity and sanitization protocols in place.
Beds at hostels and shared facilities will be kept two metres apart and arranged from head-to-toe.
NHL Hub City
Vancouver is one of six finalists to host to the end of the NHL season.
If Vancouver is chosen, games will be played at Rogers Arena without fans. There will be NHL 12 teams in Vancouver, meaning around 600 people will travel to the city from around the world.
Henry has signed off on a plan requiring players to quarantine for 14 days if they are coming from outside Canada. But there have been provisions made so players can all quarantine together at both the hotel and arena with no interaction with the public.
The NHL is expected to select the hub cities by the end of the week.
BC Parks overnight camping
The province opened BC Parks campgrounds and backcountry camping reservations on June 1, but until now travellers have been encouraged to go to the campsites near their homes.
The 2020 season booking window has been reduced to two months in advance of arrival date, on a rolling window and preferential access to camping will be given to B.C. residents.
Not all parks and campgrounds are open.
Motion picture and television production
Not all the changes in Phase 3 are immediate. The film and television sector is hoping to start shooting again this summer.
WorkSafeBC has established a plan for the industry to resume work.
The industry says there is significant interest from producers around the world who are willing to come and quarantine for 14 days due to B.C.’s low rates of coronavirus transmission.
Substantial changes to the industry have been proposed in keeping with COVID-19 protocols. Producers will need to stagger work schedules to reduce the number of workers present at one time.
There will be limits and restrictions on visitors to set. Open calls for performers will be eliminated and replaced with assigned arrival times.
Buffets for cast and crew will be replaced by pre-packaged or wrapped meals and snacks at craft services and performers will be assigned an individual hairstylist and makeup artist.
K-12 in-person classes, 2020/2021 school year
This will be one of the big pieces of Phase 3, but any decision on what school looks like in the fall won’t come until August. In-class learning returned to schools across the province on June 1.
The province is planning for hybrid learning in September, including both in-class and virtual learning but is also looking at possible full in-class learning.
Post-secondary in-person classes, 2020/2021 academic year
The Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training is working with all 25 of B.C.’s public post-secondary institutions to support their planning for the 2020/2021 academic year.
Most post-secondary institutions are planning a virtual return to school in the fall. Each institution will be responsible to develop their plans for program delivery, taking into account the health and well-being of students, staff and faculty.
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