Province introduces new reopening guidelines for businesses

Province introduces new reopening guidelines for businesses

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Sophie Gray

Local Journalism Initiative

The province has released new guidelines to support the safe reopening of businesses in B.C.

The new guidelines and resources are industry specific and will be required for businesses to develop their COVID-19 safety plans in order to reopen in the coming weeks.

“These guidelines are an important step in B.C.’s economic restart process, as they will support businesses and organizations developing their individual COVID-19 safety plans and measures to keep employees and customers safe,” said Harry Bains, Minister of Labour.

The guidelines cover sectors including restaurants and bars, office spaces, retail and health services. Each business is required to develop a COVID-19 safety plan showing they have put all the necessary policies and procedures in place to reduce the risk of transmission.

Each plan must follow six steps that include assessing the risks at the workplace, implementing measures to reduce risk, and developing communication plans and training for employees.

For restaurants, these guidelines include limiting parties to six people, ensuring tables and chairs are a minimum of two metres apart and altering service to limit contact between service staff and customers with the use of masks when proper social distancing can’t be maintained.

But for now, restaurants, pubs, salons, and personal services among other businesses remain under mandated closures. These health orders stand, according to WorksafeBC, and businesses under orders will not be permitted to open until they are lifted or modified.

“We all have a shared responsibility to build confidence amongst workers and customers, so everyone feels safe accessing businesses and services,” Bains said. “We know that businesses will open at their own pace, and I encourage them to proceed in a careful way ensuring safety measures are in place, effective and understood.”

Further information on industry specific guidelines can be found on WorksafeBC’s website at: https://www.worksafebc.com/en/about-us/covid-19-updates/covid-19-returning-safe-operation.

The page will continually be updated as new information becomes available for industries not already listed.

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