The province has already flattened its curve and is reporting fewer and fewer cases each day. Now they're looking at lifting restrictions on services, restaurants, and more. But if a second wave of COVID-19 in B.C. hits, officials could be forced to bring back restrictions once again.
In a press conference on Wednesday, May 6, B.C. Premier John Horgan gave detailed plans on how and when the province will slowly shift out of their COVID-19 restrictions and begin reopening the economy.
Starting in mid-May, businesses like restaurants and cafes are reopening their doors, under new guidelines.
"If we see a spike, we’ll respond. But Dr. Henry will give us advice on that," said Horgan during the conference.
The province said that they will be closely monitoring cases as they come up with increased testing and contact tracing.
But bringing back restrictions is more of a last resort — they'd rather adjust small parts of their reopening plans as they go to crush outbreaks as they happen.
They call this the "lift and suppress cycle," where "restrictions are relaxed and then reapplied in ways that can keep the pandemic under control at an acceptable economic and social cost," according to their press briefing.
Overall, the goal is to keep "a steady go forward state" when it comes to reopening.
B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry feels optimistic. She said it's unlikely a major outbreak happens with their slow and cautious approach, at least not until fall.
"We don’t know if there will be a resurgence once influenza and other respiratory virus come back," she said of the coming months.
In order to handle new cases, the province is stepping up testing. They told the press that anyone with symptoms, no matter how mild, could be tested.
That's not to mention standing at the ready with careful monitoring of cases and contact tracing if outbreaks occur.
B.C. is able to start bringing back restrictions if a new spike happens — but that's the last thing they want to do. They'll do their best to manage cases without tightening up any restrictions they'd loosened.
"We do not want to be starting and stopping, starting and stopping," said Henry.