Here's what to expect as B.C. enters Phase 3 of restarting its economy
Non-essential travel and film production can resume with precautions in place
British Columbia announced its transition into Phase 3 of the province's restart plan Wednesday. Here's what you need to know.
Travelling throughout B.C.
While traveling through B.C. was never prohibited, health and government officials asked people to stay close to home in their communities and avoid non-essential travel.
Now, people are invited to travel farther afield, albeit with the same caution everyone has been expected to practice at home.
"Be mindful: this is not regular programming," Premier John Horgan said Wednesday as he announced the gradual shift into Phase 3.
The B.C. government warns that while some communities that rely on tourism will be eager to see visitors, others might be hesitant to welcome outsiders. Travellers are asked to research the area they're planning to visit before heading out, and remain respectful of the wishes of those communities.
Many First Nations are closed to visitors and that may not change.
- Plan ahead.
- If you're at all sick, stay home.
- If you get sick on the road, self-isolate immediately and call 811 for medical guidance.
- Support local businesses in those communities that welcome visitors.
- Be aware that smaller communities may not have the resources to support visitors — bring your own groceries and essential supplies.
People arriving in B.C. from outside the country must quarantine for 14 days. The border with the U.S. will remain closed to non-essential travel.
Hotels, resorts, camping
The accommodation industry was never subject to a public health order, but many businesses decided to close as the pandemic swept across the province.
The government now expects many hotels, motels, resorts, lodges, RV parks, hostels and cabins to resume operations.
B.C. Parks began reopening for camping June 1 with the launch of Phase 2.
Some changes in B.C. Parks this year include:.
- Bookings limited to a rolling two-month window.
- Preferential access will be giving to B.C. residents.
- Some parks will remain closed.
Resort and accommodation operators are expected to have a COVID-19 safety plan in place, based on the protocols set by WorkSafeBC.
Guests can expect many of the physical distancing and hygiene measures that have become familiar in public spaces, restaurants and shops, including two-metre markers, altered layouts and reduced capacity in some facilities.
Film and T.V. production
Many people who work in the film and television industry are preparing to return to the set, but things will be different there, as they are in all workplaces.
This sector must also follow WorkSafeBC rules to create a safety plan. Changes could include staggering shifts to reduce the number of people on set, restricting visitors, shifting to prepackaged or wrapped meals and snacks, and assigning individual hair stylists and makeup artists to performers.
Phase 3 includes a return to the classroom for students in kindergarten through Grade 12 in September. That could change if the course of the pandemic changes.
For post-secondary institutions, there will be different approaches to in-person instruction in September, as each of the 25 institutions in B.C. will develop its own plan. Many are expected to continue virtual sessions.
What about your bubble?
Little is changing with regards to social interactions. Gatherings larger than 50 people are still banned.
The number of people you interact with — and exactly how — will still depend on your particular circumstances. People at greater risk (over 60 or with underlying health conditions) and those in close contact with people at greater risk will want to remain vigilant and take extra precautions.
The B.C. government advises that, generally, people should:
- Limit people within your bubble.
- Be OK to hug or kiss people within a bubble and not maintain two metres distance or wear a mask.
- Continue hand hygiene and space cleaning.
- Self-isolate if you're sick.
- Keep gatherings small (two to six people) outside your bubble.
- Remain two metres away from other people, and consider wearing a non-medical face mask or covering when physical distancing isn't possible.
- Don't share hugs or handshakes with people outside your bubble.