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

Shuswap Litas and Sons of Stomp head out from uptown Askew’s parking lot on Thursday, June 10, some with teddy bears and stuffies, to ride to Pierre’s Point by Adams Lake community hall to show their support for band members in the wake of the confirmation of 215 children buried at the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)
Shuswap bike clubs ride to support Indigenous communities

Motorcyclists go to Pierre’s Point in solidarity with bands in wake of residential school findings

The Shaw Centre and the SASCU Recreation Centre are the two largest producers of greenhouse gas emissions on City of Salmon Arm properties. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)
City of Salmon staff surprised COVID not cause of drop in greenhouse gas emissions

2020 sees emissions on city-owned properties decrease well below 2019 totals

Interior Health is offering mobile vaccination clinics for the first dose only of COVID-19 vaccine in the Shuswap from June 15 to June 19h. (Interior Health image)
First-dose vaccinations for COVID-19 offered via mobile clinics in Shuswap

Clinic in Salmon Arm scheduled for June 15, other clinics in Sorrento, Malakwa, Chase

The price per litre of regular gasoline was at 145.9 cents at several gas stations in downtown Salmon Arm on June 11, 2021. (Zachary Roman - Salmon Arm Observer)
Gas prices pumped up in Salmon Arm and Sicamous

Price spikes from 131.9 to as high as 145.9 cents per litre

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

Dr. Albert de Villiers, chief medical health officer for the Interior Health Authority. (Contributed)
Black Press Media Weekly Roundup: Top headlines this week

Here’s a summary of this week’s biggest stories from the Okanagan-Shuswap

57-year-old Kathleen Richardson was discovered deceased in her home Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Her death is considered a homicide and connected to the slain brothers found on a Naramata forest road. (Submitted)
Naramata community in shock as condolences pour in for homicide victim Kathy Richardson

Richardson was well liked in the community, a volunteer firefighter with a home-based salon

British Columbia-Yukon Community News Association’s 2021 Ma Murray Awards were handed out during a virtual ceremony on Friday, June 10. (Screen grab)
Black Press Media winners take gold at B.C. and Yukon journalism awards

Publications received nods in dozens of categories

Princeton GSAR responds 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. In 2020 the crew was called out 34 times, and members spent 721 hours on calls, and 683 hours training. Photo Princeton GSAR Facebook
Teen missing in Manning Park found after 24 hours

Young man spends night on mountain and survives with just a few scrapes

The RCMP are asking for assistance regarding the death of Kathleen Richardson of Naramata, pictured here. Her death is believed to be related to two homicides in Naramata in May. (RCMP)
Police identify South Okanagan homicide victim as 57-year-old Naramata woman

57-year-old Kathleen Richardson was discovered deceased in her home Wednesday

Two e-scooters parked on the sidewalk along Water Street in downtown Kelowna on Monday, May 3. Scooters parked on walkways are causing accessibility issues for some people with disabilities. (Michael Rodriguez/Capital News)
Kelowna General Hospital clinicians observe increase in e-scooter injuries

A report is set to go to city council next week on how the e-scooter pilot has gone thus far

Fair-goers take a ride at the 120th annual Armstrong Interior Provincial Exhibition and Stampede Aug. 28-Sept. 1, 2019. (Katherine Peters - Morning Star)
Armstrong’s IPE not eligible for COVID-19 grant designed for major attractions

Shuswap MLA Greg Kyllo criticized the rigidity of the provincial program’s criteria

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets campers while visiting McDougall, Ont. on Thursday, July 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
71% of B.C. men say they’d prefer to go camping with Trudeau: survey

Most British Columbians with plans to go camping outdoors say they’d prefer to go with Trudeau or Shania Twain

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

Most Read