COVID-19 precautions at Trans Mountain construction sites could boost Kamloops hospitality sector
Workers to be put up in hotels, would visit local shops and restaurants through the summer
Work has begun on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion in B.C.'s Interior, bringing dozens of people into the region. Workers are being put up in local hotels, with new policies and procedures in place to ensure COVID-19 doesn't spread in the city.
Trans Mountain president and CEO Ian Anderson anticipates up to 600 workers in Kamloops during the height of construction this summer, which will include as many people as possible from Kamloops, as well as from other parts of the province.
"Our number one priority is local hiring," Anderson told Daybreak Kamloops host Shelley Joyce.
However, he says, anyone working on the project from out of town will be put up in local hotels, with one worker to each room.
He said four hotels have agreed to comply with the company's requirements when it comes to disinfecting private and common areas.
"We're happy to be putting some people back into some empty Kamloops hotel and motel rooms to assist their economy," Anderson said.
It comes as welcome news to the local chamber of commerce. Director Tyson Andrykew said the plan will provide a boost for local hotels and restaurants.
"They're going to be here spending their hard earned dollars [at] countless businesses which is just a great opportunity for us, given the current climate," said Andrykew, who is also a regional director with the Sandman Hotel Group.
"It should make a significant difference for some businesses for sure."
Andrykew expects up to 25 per cent of hotel rooms in Kamloops, which he estimates at about 2,500, could be filled with Trans Mountain employees this summer.
Other COVID-19 precautions
So far, Trans Mountain hasn't had any cases of COVID-19 at any of its work sites in Alberta or B.C., and Anderson plans to keep it that way.
A tent or trailer will be on hand at each worksite where employees will have to check in and have their temperatures taken and declare whether or not they have experienced any symptoms or been near someone who has.
Personal protective equipment will be available onsite, and the company has been in touch with local health authorities, which are prepared to help with testing, if needed.
"We're going to have in place the most up-to-date procedures in our worksite as we possibly can," Anderson said.
With files from Daybreak Kamloops