Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Open for Business ... with Conditions

This is the week that many British Columbians will head back to the workplace, though the environment may be significantly different today, that it was when the doors closed as the province shut down during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in late March.

The province outlined it's Restart BC program in early May and WorkSafe BC has been tasked to develop the guidelines for those businesses to operate safely in the current environment.

Tourism Prince Rupert has provided some  helpful notes on the theme of reopening, outlining them as part of their weekly update on COVID related themes last Friday.

Individual businesses will not be required to submit COVID-19 mitigation plans to WorkSafeBC, but they will be required to post their plans publicly to create accountability and confidence. Compliance with these plans will be enforced by random checks and an investigation of complaints by Public Health and WorkSafeBC.

 Businesses will not be required to open as of a certain date. Individual businesses will need to consider their own circumstances, as well as those of their employees and customers, and not all businesses will find that it makes sense to re-open given restrictions around physical distancing. BC restaurants are aiming to resume dine-in service beginning June 1st.

WorkSafeBC "will not be reviewing or approving the (health and safety) plans of individual employers, but during a WorkSafeBC inspection, they will ask employers about the steps they have taken to protect their workers. You must ensure that workers understand the measures you are taking to reduce the risk as many will have concerns about returning to work. Involve them in the planning process as much as possible to ensure their concerns are heard and addressed."

You can review the stream of background notes from the links below:

WorkSafeBC on COVID 19 and return to safe operation

Tourism and Hospitality Best Practices Template

More on Restarting Operations after COVID-19

During the course of the Monday COVID briefing from Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix, the topic of the BC Restart carried some of the Q & A period.

Towards reopening restaurants, they outlined the new requirements for physical space as well as the plan towards collection of data for those who dine in at the soon to open establishments.

Dr. Henry noted that some owners may have anxiety, as well as customers, observing how WorkSafeBC and Health Authorities will be there to provide guidance.

Guidelines for restaurants, caf├ęs and pubs from WorkSafe BC can be reviewed here.

The discussion comes up in the last ten minutes of the Monday briefing.

. .

 Earlier this month, we outlined how the City of Prince Rupert is set to waive fees for local restaurants to set up patio dining to help towards meeting the new guidelines towards physical distancing.

Last week, we outlined the plans ahead for a Small Business Recovery Task force in Prince Rupert.

As the openings get underway, Local residents can start to return to some of their favourite Pubs and restaurants in the near, future, as more and more local establishments work out their own relaunch plan.

In a Facebook post, Breakers Pub at Cow Bay outlined how they plan to resume operations, along with some of the guidelines for guests.

Breakers Pub is ready to welcome guests again as of Wednesday,
though with a range of measures in place for customers to observe

Some of Prince Rupert's popular stores and services have already restarted their operations, last week Maverick Mart announced that it had reopened its doors to customers, a  well received message from their supporters.

You can explore more of the resources that Tourism Prince Rupert has provided from this link to their COVID-19 RESOURCE page

For more notes on the Business scene in the Northwest see our archive page here.

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