B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix, Premier John Horgan and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announce “restart B.C.” program at the B.C. legislature, May 6, 2020. (B.C. government)

COVID-19: Business return up to managers, customers, Dr. Henry says

Business groups to have rules, individual approvals not needed

Individual B.C. business returning to operation under COVID-19 public health rules do not have to have their plans approved, and some may choose not to operate even when they can, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says.

Henry and WorkSafeBC have had many inquiries after Premier John Horgan announced B.C.’s “restart B.C.” plan with a second phase of business and service openings after the Victoria Day long weekend. Details are being worked out for restaurants, retail, hair salons and medical services such as dentistry and physiotherapy.

“Template plans and checklists will be available,” Henry said May 7. “They’re being developed even as we speak. We started on this some time ago, but it takes a bit of time.”

The basic principles of health orders to maintain physical distance and prevent coronavirus transmission in workplaces and stores have been known for some time, and each business has to fit their circumstances to the rules, she said.

“Businesses will need to make decisions for themselves, based on your ability to meet those requirements,” Henry said. “So some restaurants and bars for example, some hair salons, may not open. Like every family, every business is also unique and it depends on who works there, who your clientele are, and the physical setup of your business. It may be gradual for some. It may be not an effective business proposition for others.”

RELATED: B.C. records 33 more COVID-19 infections, two deaths

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WorkSafeBC and public health officials are working with industry organizations on their rules, and they will work with their members.

“Individual plans for every business that will be opened do not need to be submitted for approval,” Henry said. “But you do need to ensure that your plan is publicly posted. This is how we have accountability to each other, and how we can ensure that everybody understands the measures you’re taking to keep your employees and to keep customers safe.”


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