BC set to lay out plans to ease restrictions and reopen the economy

BC set to lay out plans to ease restrictions and reopen the economy
Province of British Columbia
British Columbians will learn today how the province expects to relax some pandemic measures following a steady decline of COVID-19 cases.

British Columbians have watched provinces across the country announce plans and take action on easing COVID-19 restrictions over the past few weeks, patiently waiting for their own blueprint from BC’s health officials. Now, the wait is over as the highly-anticipated reopening plans are set to be unveiled on Wednesday.

Premier John Horgan, Health Minister Adrian Dix and Henry are set to announce B.C.’s plans to begin easing restrictions at 3 pm PT on May 6. A live stream will be available on CHEK’s Facebook page and YouTube Channel.

Live at 3 p.m.: Premier John Horgan, Adrian Dix, Minister of Health and Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.'s provincial health officer, for outline B.C.'s strategy for reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Posted by CHEK News on Wednesday, May 6, 2020


Safe ways to increase social and economic contacts in British Columbia will form the basics of the province’s pandemic playbook, as health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said during a press conference Monday that people must get back to work and families, friends and communities need to tighten the social fabric.

“This is, I believe, the end of the beginning of our pandemic,” she said. “It is our curve and we can continue to push it down and keep it there. It is in our hands as long as we don’t forget to wash them.”

Although restrictions will begin to ease, Dr. Henry still cautions people to stay in their social “bubble” to prevent a surge of COVID-19 cases.

Modelling data tracking COVID-19 in BC from Jan. 1 to April 29 shows the spread of the virus has been declining since physical distancing measures were introduced and Dr. Henry suggests the province could move towards a doubling of the current rate of contacts most people have with others without causing a spike in COVID-19 cases.

At this time, however, she said returning too quickly to the pre-pandemic lifestyles of last year could be dangerous.

“If we go back to December, where we were having lots of gatherings where people meet, where this virus has the opportunity to take off quite rapidly, we could expect to see just that,” said Henry. “Our challenge and our work together is to find that sweet spot.”

It has been outlined from health officials that Wednesday’s announcement will include measures for summer sports teams, the retail sector and hair salons, but she wants gatherings to remain small.

“Some of the things we’ll not be changing in the near future are the orders, for example, on the numbers of people who can congregate together,” she said. “Right now, that’s at 50. Smaller is better, outside is safer than inside.”

On Tuesday, during her daily update, the provincial health officer announced there were only eight new cases of COVID-19 – the lowest increase in a 24 hour period since early March.

The total number of confirmed cases sits at 2,232, while 1,472 of those cases have fully recovered. The death toll stands at 121.

“Physical distancing, it has made a difference,” said Henry. “It has allowed us to put the brakes on COVID-19 but we haven’t stopped the car. There’s so much we actually don’t know about this virus.”

Dr. Henry has also said some measures used in grocery stores could be implemented at other retail outlets and restaurants and may include limiting the number of people allowed in as well as plastic shields separating workers from customers.

Unlike some other provinces, BC did not close several sectors of the economy, allowing garden centres and construction sites to continue operating.

With files to Canadian Press

Graham CoxGraham Cox

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