By Andru McCracken
In Doctor Bonnie Henry’s weekend update, she offered reassurance to people stressing out about moving into Phase 2 of BC’s reopening plan. Henry shared her own misgivings about having friends over this weekend.
“I had a small number of friends over and it was awkward and strange, and thought-provoking not having socialized in months,” said Henry.
Mistakes will be made, but Henry offered sympathy for everyone trying to follow the public health orders keeping themselves and friends and families safe.
“We may not always get it all right 100% of the time, but that’s okay, we will work together.”
The Province is in Phase 2 of its plan to restart BC. While the government asks people to continue to stay close to home and avoid nonessential travel between communities, much is opening up.
Using enhanced protocols to maintain social distancing and following new WorkSafeBC guidelines, the following is allowed to happen:
- Restoration of health services
- Re-scheduling elective surgery
- Medically related services like Dentistry, physiotherapy, registered massage therapy, and chiropractors
- Physical therapy, speech therapy, and similar services
- Retail sector
- Hair salons, barbers, massage therapy and other personal service establishments
- In-person counselling
- Restaurants, cafes, and pubs (with sufficient distancing measures)
- Museums, art galleries, and libraries
- Office-based worksites
- Recreation and sports
- Parks, beaches, and outdoor spaces
- Child care establishments
A reporter asked about playing informal summer sports, and Henry was for it if it happened out of doors. She said that briefly being in contact with another person, say on the basketball court, was not necessarily terrible if the duration of the interaction is short.
As of May 19 restaurants can be open given that their tables are 2 metres apart and can have a maximum of six people per table.
Henry confessed there wasn’t a lot of science behind these rules.
“This is trying to put together a rational approach to reopening,” she said. “Part of it is trying to find that physical space depending on how your tables are configured.”
She encouraged restaurants to take the shift slow and said she would do her part.
“We will monitor carefully to make sure we aren’t creating situations for this virus to transmit rapidly through our communities,” she said.
The virus may flare up, but with expanded testing and contact tracing, Henry said that the province is ready to proceed.
“There is an onus on all of us to monitor ourselves very closely for symptoms.”
Henry is asking that rural folk respond to a provincial survey about the impact of COVID-19 measures.
She said they’re asking about respondent’s ages, sex, income level, education, race and ethnicity to see how the measures they have taken have impacted different groups.
Henry also asked people who are victims of family or partner violence to access VictimLinkBC, a toll free confidential, multilingual telephone service available across BC and the Yukon at 1-800-563-0808. You can also send an email to VictimLinkBC@bc211.ca.
There is also a toll-free kids helpline: 1-800-668-6868. It can also be reached by texting 686868.
Henry appealed for consideration and generosity.
“Let’s show patience and compassion for ourselves and for those around us,” she said.
She also said wearing a cloth mask can help you from accidentally transmitting the virus to others.
“If you are using transit or going into a smaller store, consider wearing a cloth based mask to reduce risk for others,” she said.
Henry said that for people with family members going through cancer treatment or another illness should take further precautions.
Health Minister Adrian Dix said that our individual well being is within our hands.He said frequent hand washing, physical distancing, coughing into sleeves and wearing a nonmedical mask when appropriate will reduce the risk of transmission.
“Sticking with these now will give us every opportunity to make this a summer that renews BC.” he said.