(The Canadian Press)

(The Canadian Press)

B.C. businesses grapple with new health protocols as reopening begins Tuesday

‘I would say ‘take it slow,’ Dr. Bonnie Henry said Monday

As some British Columbia businesses prepare to reopen their doors on Tuesday when the province enters the second phase of its COVID-19 restart plan, others say they’re holding off while they grapple with new health protocols.

Claire Wyrostok owns the Black Lodge, a pub featuring vegetarian and vegan fare in Vancouver’s Mount Pleasant neighbourhood, which won’t be reopening for dine-in service right away.

“I definitely can’t ask my staff to work when I can’t guarantee them a safe environment,” she said. “And I can’t do that without the recommendations of WorkSafeBC.”

Industry-specific public health protocols were released by the province on Friday and aim to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus while ramping up economic activity.

But Wyrostok said there’s not enough time to implement all of WorkSafe BC’s protocols by Tuesday.

The protocols for restaurants range from using large menu boards or disposable menus instead of traditional ones, to installing decals on the floor to control the flow of customers, to minimizing the use of shared kitchen equipment and appliances.

“Something as simple as picking up a plate and putting it in the dishwasher and then taking a clean dish out at the same time — you can’t do that anymore,” said Wyrostok, who’s also concerned the guidelines leave room for interpretation.

In order to reopen, all businesses must also have a COVID-19 safety plan in place, for which WorkSafeBC is providing a template.

ALSO READ: B.C. restaurants can host dine-in guests Tuesday, but what will that look like?

The head of prevention services for the agency, Al Johnson, has said about 300 prevention officers will oversee enforcement.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said she understands there will be anxiety as B.C. businesses open their doors for potentially the first time in several months.

“I would say ‘take it slow,’” she said Monday. “I know people are a little bit afraid.”

Kin Kao, a 32-seat Thai restaurant along Vancouver’s Commercial Drive will also remain closed for dine-in service. Owner Terrence Feng said it’s too soon for them to reopen and Kin Kao will continue to rely on takeout and delivery orders for the time being.

“Opening up a small space where people have the opportunity to sit down and actually be closer and then flipping that table and another party coming in — that to me is just a recipe for disaster,” he said.

It would cost up to $10,000 for Kin Kao to hire staff and build up its inventory in order to reopen, Feng noted.

“Responsibility to the community and also to our staff and our customers outweighs the financial pressure that we’re under.”

Retail associations have previously said that reduced occupancy limits will cripple businesses, such as restaurants, if they’re a long-term requirement.

Henry says the limits are in place to help everyone.

“There’s not a lot of science,” she said of the formula behind determining a restaurant’s occupancy limit during the restart plan. “It’s based on trying to put together a rational approach to how many people would create enough of a crowd to put others at risk.”

Retailers, recreation facilities, libraries, museums and child care facilities, as well as personal service establishments such as hair salons and barbers are also allowed to reopen Tuesday.

Registered massage therapy, physiotherapy, dentistry, in-person counselling and similar health services may also reopen according to the industry-specific guidelines from WorkSafeBC.

CuR Laser and Skin in Vancouver is set to reopen this week, owner and medical director Dr. Kumar Shivdasani said.

Shivdasani, who also works at Vancouver General Hospital, said he realized early on in the outbreak that personal protective equipment might be in short supply. He leveraged his connections to procure masks, gloves, face shields and goggles.

Staff at the clinic will don all of that equipment while treating clients who will also be provided with masks and have their temperature checked with a touchless thermometer that’s due to arrive in about a week, said Shivdasani.

Other businesses and services must wait until the third phase of the province’s restart plan, set to start in June and last through September, provided the transmission rate of the virus remains low or in decline.

Phase three would include the reopening of hotels and resorts, as well as domestic film production starting in June or July followed by select entertainment such as movies and symphonies.

British Columbia reported two deaths and 16 new cases of COVID-19 since the province’s last update on Saturday.

Both of the deaths occurred in long-term care patients. According to Henry, 1,966 people have recovered from the illness.

Brenna Owen, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Patricia Taylor and Debra Strut at the Salvation Army on Friday, Nov. 27, handing out winter boots and gift bags to those in need. Taylor says they'll be back until all her supplies are gone.(Mandy Moraes photo)
Parksville residents distribute gifts and winter boots in Salvation Army parking lot

‘I’m hoping to open the eyes of the community to realize that everybody has value’

Qualicum Beach resident Harold MacDougall won $75,000 off a Casino Royale II Scratch & Win ticket, purchased the ticket at Qualicum Foods on Memorial Avenue. (BCLC photo)
Qualicum Beach man $75K richer thanks to scratch-and-win ticket windfall

MacDougall plans on trips to Cape Breton and Scotland

Regional District of Nanaimo will be receiving $1.17 million from the B.C. government in COVID-19 safe restart grant money. (News Bulletin file)
Regional District of Nanaimo directors getting started on budgeting decisions

Proposed tax requisitions for 2021 range from 7.3-per cent increase to 2.2-per cent decrease

David Darmadi, owner of Kalvas - The Log House restaurant, is offering a sweet initiative for SOS. Guests can bring in a new, unwrapped gift or financial donation for SOS, and receive a free dessert. (Lissa Alexander photo)
Sweet initiative to support Parksville Qualicum Beach residents

‘A lot of our guests are very generous and they want to help out’

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement forecasting windy weather Sunday and Monday. (News Bulletin file photo)
More windy weather on the way for Vancouver Island

Environment Canada issues special weather statement for Victoria, east coast of Island, north Island

Idyllic winter scenes are part of the atmosphere of the holiday season, and are depicted in many seasonal movies. How much do you know about holiday movies? Put your knowledge to the test. (Pixabay.com)
QUIZ: Test your knowledge of holiday movies and television specials

The festive season is a time for relaxing and enjoying some seasonal favourites

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

A man walks by a COVID-19 test pod at the Vancouver airport in this undated handout photo. A study has launched to investigate the safest and most efficient way to rapidly test for COVID-19 in people taking off from the Vancouver airport. The airport authority says the study that got underway Friday at WestJet’s domestic check-in area is the first of its kind in Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Vancouver Airport Authority *MANDATORY CREDIT*
COVID-19 rapid test study launches at Vancouver airport for departing passengers

Airport authority says that a positive rapid test result does not constitute a medical diagnosis for COVID-19

A small crash in the water south of Courtenay Saturday afternoon. Two men had to be rescued, but reports indicate there were no serious injuries. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Small plane crash in Comox Valley waters Saturday afternoon

Two rescued from plane that had flipped in water; no serious injuries reported

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

A photo from 2017, of Nuchatlaht First Nation members outside court after filing a land title case in B.C. ( Submitted photo/Nuchatlaht First Nation).
Vancouver Island First Nation calls on B.C. to honour UNDRIP in historic title case

Nuchatlaht First Nation says Crown counsel continues to stall the case using the ‘distasteful’ argument that the Nation ‘abandoned’ their land

West Vancouver Island’s Ehattesaht First Nation continues lock down after 9 active cases were reported today after a visitor tested positive last week. (Ehattesaht First Nation/Facebook)
Ehattesaht First Nation’s COVID-19 nightmare: nine active cases, a storm and a power outage

The Vancouver Island First Nation in a lockdown since the first case was reported last week

114 Canadians were appointed Nov. 27 to the Order of Canada. (Governor General of Canada photo)
Indigenous actor, author, elder, leaders appointed to Order of Canada

Outstanding achievement, community dedication and service recognized

The Ahousaht First Nation confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on Nov. 26, 2020. (Westerly file photo)
Ahousaht First Nation on lockdown over COVID-19

“Emotions are high. The anxiety is high. We want our community to pull through.”

Most Read