Small gatherings and reopening plans for British Columbia to begin in mid-May

On Wednesday May 6, B.C. Premier John Horgan laid out the plans and details for reopening the province as the COVID-19 cases begin to lower.

Starting next weekend on May 16, small gatherings of two to six people will be allowed, as long as all participants do not have any of the COVID-19 related symptoms.

These plans will set in motion the return to regular life in B.C., but for that return to happen, the province must remain on the same trajectory they are going. That means that hospitalization and infection rates have to go down according to Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

Being able to return to 60 percent of the province’s normal interactions is the goal of this reopening plan according to public health officials, but the province will proceed with this plan slowly to maintain the progress made.

“It won’t be the flipping of the switch,” said Premier Horgan regarding the plan.

“If we lose this discipline, everything we have worked for will be lost”.

Horgan also said that the restrictions on gathering of 50 or more people will remain, as the risk of the virus reemerging is greater if gatherings of this size are allowed.

Priority sectors

Guidelines regarding some sectors of the economy that are allowed to reopen was also released, as long as the listed businesses follow the hygiene measures and physical distancing rules put in place by the government.

Parts of the health care sector will reopen on May 19. These reopening sectors include dental care, physiotherapy, scheduled surgeries, chiropractic services, diagnostic testing, outpatient services, and imaging services.

Services such as hair salons, retail stores, museums, libraries, restaurants, office workplaces, pubs, provincial parks, child care, and sports leagues are expected to return for British Columbians as well.

Due to the ban of 50 or more people gathering, it is unlikely that nightclubs, bars, and casinos will be returning anytime soon. Events like conventions, large concerts, or anything that would involve a large audience are also out of the question.

Between June and September, businesses like hotels, movie theatres, and schools will have a chance at reopening if infections can remain under control. 

Schools are the priority for reopening, intending to reopen by September if case numbers decrease even more. 

If that happens, daily screenings of staff and students, smaller classes, frequent cleaning, and strict isolation policies will be put in place to remain open.

COVID-19 stats for B.C.

As of Thursday afternoon, there have been a total of 2,255 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the provinces.

It is reported that 124 people have died due to the virus, 74 patients in the hospital and 19 in intensive care. 1,494 have recovered according to reports.

According to modelling data, B.C. is showing dramatic decreases in cases but stresses to keep up the social distancing. 

Officials also say that keeping social interactions around 35 to 40 percent will help lower the number of daily cases to an eventual zero.

Written by: Angelo Cruz

This content is also available in: Tiếng Việt

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This content is also available in: Tiếng Việt