British Columbia

Businesses to decide whether they meet reopening requirements, must make safety plans public

B.C. businesses will make decisions for themselves about whether they meet the requirements necessary to re-open as the province begins the slow process of easing restrictions.

Public health will be proactive with inspections, said provincial health officer

Preliminary details of the province's expectations for the reopening of specific sectors were announced on Wednesday. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

B.C. businesses will make decisions for themselves about whether they meet the requirements necessary to safely re-open as the province begins the gradual but steady process of easing restrictions.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said in her daily briefing on Thursday that the province is working with WorkSafeBC to outline the specific requirements for different types of businesses, and that safety templates and checklists will be made available

 Individual businesses will not be required to submit individual plans for approval, but plans should be posted publicly. 

"Give people confidence," she said. "Every business is also unique. Who works there, who your clientele are, and the physical set-up of your space. Not everyone will follow the same plan." 

Henry said there will be proactive inspections by public health, and a complaint-based system if members of the public or employees don't feel safe.

"I believe that most businesses will do the right thing, this means they are protecting their employees and protecting their business." 

Some preliminary guidelines released

Preliminary details of the province's expectations for the reopening of specific sectors were announced on Wednesday.

For example, retailers, who may be able to open mid-May, will be asked to bring in measures like reducing lineups by setting up more checkout stations, installing plexiglass to protect workers, encouraging online shopping and mask use.

Some guidelines were also issued for hair salons and spas, sports and recreation camps, and childcare.

One area that remains unclear is the re-opening of gyms.

"We have had transmission of this virus in gyms in B.C. Those facilities weren't able to meet the requirements," said Henry.

"We will be working with that sector ... There will be restrictions on number of people allowed, the ability to clean, limiting congregation in washrooms, there will be measures that will need to be in place."

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