The news finally dropped about the province lifting restrictions. One question in particular might be on many people's minds: what's reopening in B.C.? We're in the first stages now, and cafes and bars are on the menu. Hotels are following soon after.
After reporting low numbers of new cases for weeks, B.C. could be on its way back to normalcy. In his daily update on Wednesday, May 6, Premier John Horgan outlined a very detailed plan about what's opening when.
There's a four-stage plan to reopening, and we're already in the first, he said. That means our non-essential businesses and other services like construction, agriculture, manufacturing, and silviculture are up and running.
From mid-May onwards, cafes, restaurants, and pubs will be back in service for in-person visits — with distancing measures in place. On top of this, parks, beaches, and outdoor spaces will be open too.
It's not as easy as that, though; owners and associates will need to come up with their own guidelines for their businesses — so restaurants will have to make up their own social distancing rules, for example.
These rules will then get checked by Worksafe BC and BC Health before they can be implemented. Staff and customers will then be informed of the new rules. All of this is subject to inspection, too. But once that's done, they're good to open.
This means that it's likely we'll see different businesses opening at different times.
Other services opening in stage one include retail stores, hair salons and barbers, in-person counselling, museums, art galleries, libraries, offices, transit, and child care services.
"I really, really hope I can book a hair appointment sometime after the middle of May," said Dr. Henry during the press briefing.
In the second stage, even more services will reopen. This will only happen if the transmission rate remains low or continues to decline, and should take place from June to September.
If everything goes well, hotels and resorts could be up and running in June. More parks — including some overnight camping — would also be reopening in June.
And in September, some schools will be back in session — though it'll look completely different.
The province has been doing well so far, and its curve has essentially flattened. With the right regulations in place, they say we'll be able to keep safe and start going out again.