Downtown areas across B.C. have emerged from a bleak winter, with business closures and restrictions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Angie Mindus/Williams Lake Tribune)

Downtown areas across B.C. have emerged from a bleak winter, with business closures and restrictions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Angie Mindus/Williams Lake Tribune)

Return to offices up next in B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan

Tourism businesses can start to take bookings again

B.C. business owners are relieved to have their road map for a return to normal operations, with a return to offices getting underway and recreational travel bookings coming back.

The province’s four-step COVID-19 restart plan outlines a return to near-normal conditions by this fall, depending on vaccination rates continuing to rise and coronavirus infections continuing to fall. The plan restores confidence for tourism and hospitality businesses that have seen setbacks and business closures, said Walt Judas, CEO of the Tourism Association of B.C.

“While the plan is welcome and appreciated, the biggest concern for our industry going forward is the risk that the province may need to slow down the various phases if hospitalizations, ICU admissions and transmission rates all rise in the weeks and months ahead in spite of increasing vaccination rates,” Judas said after the May 25 restart announcement.

Recreational travel remains restricted until June 15, with public health orders in place to keep trips within each of three zones, the Lower Mainland, the B.C. Interior and Vancouver Island. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry encouraged people to explore within their regions until province-wide travel is allowed again, likely within a month.

Urban businesses have been starved for customers as many office workers stayed home during the long pandemic, but that is changing as of this week, Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon says.

“For offices and workplaces, step one allows for the work from home guidance to be lifted gradually,” Kahlon said May 25. “At this time, employees can now work in the office for a few days a week, following their employers’ existing safety plan. In step two, employees can return to work fully, with the ability to hold small in-person meetings. And in step three, we will see workplaces holding larger meetings, seminars outside of the office.”

RELATED: B.C.’s COVID-19 infection drop continues, 289 cases Tuesday

RELATED: Mandatory mask rule to be reviewed, could be gone in July


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureBC politicsCoronavirus

Just Posted

The Red Chris open pit mine approximately 80 km south of Dease Lake. The province and Tahltan will start negotiations on the first consent-based decision-making agreement ever to be negotiated under DRIPA with regards to two mining projects in northern B.C. (Newcrest Mining photo)
B.C. to begin DRIPA-based negotiations with Tahltan First Nation on two northwest mining projects

Negotiations on Red Chris and Eskay Creek mines to commence soon in accordance with Section 7 of DRIPA

President of the Tahltan Central Government, Chad Norman Day, surveys Tahltan territory by helicopter in this July 2019 handout photo. The Tahltan Nation and the British Columbia government have struck what officials say is a historic agreement for shared decision-making for the nation’s territory in northwestern B.C., a hot spot for mineral exploration. Day says the deal shows they are “getting closer and closer to a true nation-to-nation relationship.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Tahltan Central Government
Tahltan Nation, B.C. government sign agreement for shared decision-making

Deal commits the province and the northwest B.C. nation to developing a land-use plan

Tahltan First Nation wildlife guardian, Jarett Quock, above and below right, was awarded the Outstanding Individual Leadership Award by the Indigenous Leadership Initiative on June 3. (Photos courtesy Adam Amir)
Tahltan wildlife guardian receives outstanding leadership award

Jarett Quock’s contributions were recognised by the Indigenous Leadership Initiative

Taylor Bachrach, NDP MP for Skeena-Bulkley Valley addresses Parliament on June 7, in call for the federal government to stop fighting Indigenous children in court and to implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action. (Image: supplied from Facebook)
NDP motion calling for immediate reconciliation action passes

Skeena-Bulkley MP Taylor Bachrach addresses federal Parliament

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Most Read