Business in BC: Dr. Henry Announces Increased Covid-19 Measures

Dr. Bonnie Henry, British Columbia’s Provincial Health Officer, announced various Province-wide restrictions today that have an impact on Businesses in BC.

BC Employers must review and reinforce their efforts on their COVID-19 Safety Plan

A reminder that every business must have a Covid-19 Safety Plan which can be readily viewed by staff and members of the public.   A provincial health order on May 14, 2020 specifically states that all businesses must “post a copy of your COVID-19 Safety Plan on your website, if you have one, and at your workplace so that it is readily available for review by workers, other persons who may attend at the workplace to provide services and members of the public.”.   See also our blog post entitled BC Businesses: Do you have a Covid-19 Safety Plan?

Employers must remind staff to monitor themselves daily and to always stay home if they have symptoms.  Daily screening should be part of the Covid-19 Safety Plan of every business.

Employers must make every effort to provide work from home options.  Today’s announcement asks office based employers to temporarily suspend any plans to bring remote employees back into the workforce until after the holidays.  This will be reviewed again in January, 2021.

Workplaces must ensure that all workers and customers maintain appropriate physical distance and especially be more vigilant in small office spaces, break rooms, and kitchens, as well as behind service counters or when serving customers.

Businesses or recreation centres that offer Hot Yoga, Spin Classes, or High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) must temporarily suspend these activities.

Dance studios are allowed to remain open until new guidance is developed and then must follow those new guidelines.

Gyms and recreational facilities that offer individual workouts and one-on-one training sessions may continue to operate so long as there is a Covid-19 Safety Plan that is strictly followed.

Restaurants and bars may remain open so long as there is a Covid-19 Safety Plan and employee protocols in place.  No more than six people to a table and people may only visit a restaurant with members of their household or “core bubble.”

Mask requirements

Among one of the more welcomed measures announced today is a mask mandate.

Masks are now required for everyone in all public indoor settings and workplaces.

  • Employers are expected to enforce the mandatory mask policy with both employees and customers
  • A customer can be refused entry or service if they do not wear a mask

Those who cannot put on or remove a mask on their own are exempt.  Children under the age of two are also exempt.

Masks in public indoor settings

Masks are required in all indoor public settings and all retail stores including:

Malls, shopping centres
Grocery stores
Coffee shops
Common areas in hotels
Libraries
Clothing stores
Liquor stores
Drug stores
Community centres
Recreation centres
City Halls
Restaurants and bars when not seated at a table

Masks at workplaces

Masks are required in all workplaces for shared work areas and areas where physical distancing cannot be maintained. This includes elevators, kitchens, and hallways.

Enforcement

Site inspections will be increased.  Businesses that do not comply will be subject to fines or be closed until a new plan to comply is established.

**Please note that this information is intended for informational purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice or create a solicitor-client relationship. For more information or assistance with a Covid-19 Safety Plan please contact our office to speak with a lawyer directly.

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Mandy Badwal

Mandy Badwal

Mandy is an associate lawyer with Jiwa Law Corporation and her practice consists of matters relating to Wills and Estate Planning, Corporate and Commercial Transactions, and Real Estate Transactions.

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