Today, the provincial government announced that to address rising COVID-19 case counts, protect people and communities and help break the chain of COVID-19 transmission, the provincial health officer is amending the provincial public health orders effective 12:00 AM PDT Tuesday, March 30, 2021. The new amended orders are in effect through April 19, 2021, and include:
- For restaurants, bars and pubs, all food and liquor-serving premises must only provide take-out or delivery service. Dine-in service is prohibited, except for outdoor patios. People dining on patios should do so with their immediate household or core bubble.
- Indoor, adult group fitness activities of any kind are also paused. Gyms and fitness centres are restricted to individual or one-on-one activities only i.e. one-on-one personal training.
- The previously announced class variance for limited indoor worship services has been suspended. Outdoor worship services under the current variance may continue.
- Travel continues to be limited to essential travel, work or medical reasons only. For those who have travelled outside their health region, if you or anyone in your family develops any signs of illness, you must stay home from work, school or daycare, and arrange to get tested immediately.
- Whistler-Blackcomb ski resort is closed through to April 19, 2021, to address and prevent community spread related to non-essential travel.
- All workers are strongly encouraged to work from home, where possible.
- Public health guidance for schools has also been amended to support and encourage students down to Grade 4 to wear masks while at school.
In response, the BC Chamber of Commerce President and CEO, Fiona Famulak, released the following statement:
“The restrictions that we learned about at the government’s COVID-19 Industry Engagement Table earlier today are necessary to break the chain of COVID-19 transmission that, if not addressed, has the potential to erode consumer confidence and undermine businesses’ ability to navigate through and beyond the pandemic.
However, those restrictions have real consequences. In the hours since the announcement, our business community has voiced concerns about the impact the short-notice restrictions will have on seasonal hires already secured, reservations already placed, and inventory already ordered.
The BC Chamber of Commerce will therefore continue to work to ensure businesses have timely access to existing grant programs, such as the Small and Medium sized recovery grant, and clarity on what the new restrictions mean for the longevity of the federal Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy programs. Our upcoming BCMindReader.com COVID-19 Pulse Check Survey will also reflect today’s announcement and give our network the opportunity to provide feedback to the provincial government on how the restrictions impact business, which can help inform future government policy.”