Pubs and restaurants in B.C. are among the businesses looking for ways to reopen full customer service. (Responsible Service B.C.)

COVID-19: Is B.C. reopening too soon? Lessons from Germany, Korea

B.C. restart includes park day use, pubs and restaurants

Quebec, with the worst record of containing COVID-19 in Canada, is reopening schools. Korea, an early international success story in pandemic control, has lived to regret keeping night clubs open.

The B.C. plan to restart the economy is slower than that, more like Germany, which also unveiled its reopening strategy in early May with restaurants set to restart. Like Korea, Germany employed widespread testing for the novel coronavirus, and has seen an uptick in cases in recent days.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says public health officials are watching Germany closely.

“There has been a slight increase,” Henry said at her daily briefing May 11. “It’s a little bit hard to know exactly why in Germany, but we’re watching that very carefully. We’re looking at a number of other countries, like New Zealand, Norway, some of the Scandinavian countries that have also taken very similar measures, and we’re watching what’s happening, of course, across North America, but particularly in Quebec and Ontario, in Saskatchewan and other places where they’re making similar changes like we are.”

Pubs and night clubs were shut down in mid-March as B.C. responded to cases trickling in from overseas. Korea kept them open, and has seen a surge in new cases since the weekend that has been traced to exposure in clubs.

Beginning in mid-May, B.C.’s “phase two” starts with reopening most provincial parks for day use, rescheduling postponed surgeries, allowing dentistry, physiotherapy and other health treatments with additional protective equipment, and restarting office-based worksites, including the B.C. legislature by June.

Key business re-openings are retail, hair salons, restaurants and pubs, maintaining the physical distance rules that have kept B.C.’s COVID-19 cases in decline in recent weeks. Local governments are looking to open up streets for additional outside seating.

RELATED: Restaurants want to expand into public spaces to reopen

RELATED: A phase-by-phase look at B.C.’s COVID-19 reopening plan

Henry has stressed that just because businesses are allowed to reopen doesn’t mean they will, or should depending on their layout and staff requirements. Restaurants and other industry groups are finalizing their guidelines, and each will have to publicly post its pandemic safety plan when the owners and managers believe they are ready to go.

“A steady stream will be far more successful than a rushing river that can damage things in its path,” Henry said.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

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

Just Posted

Langley beekeepers on alert for giant honeybee-murdering hornets recently sighted

Aldergrove beekeeper Bryn Jones ‘concerned’ after South Langley giant Asian hornet sighting

Beatniks Bistro donates $4,000 to Langley School District Foundation

Executive director Susan Cairns said $32,500 is spent every week to help feed Langley families

Solidarity demonstration planned for Abbotsford on Friday

People gathering to protest police brutality and systemic racism in downtown Abbotsford

Real estate market sees ‘thaw’ in Langley

Sales are still low, but are rebounding

LETTER: Clean up properly after your pooch

Langleyites might lose their chance for their dog to frolick in the field

VIDEO: A Vancouver Island black bear takes weekend nap in eagle tree

Videos captured by Terry Eissfeldt shows the bear arriving Saturday night and sleeping in on Sunday

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Thanks for helping the Aldergrove Star to continue its mission to provide trusted local news

About 30% of B.C. students return to schools as in-class teaching restarts amid pandemic

Education minister noted that in-class instruction remains optional

Trudeau avoids questions about anti-racism protesters dispersed for Trump photo-op

Prime minister says racism is an issue Canadians must tackle at home, too

NDP getting COVID-19 wage subsidy ‘indirectly,’ B.C. Liberal leader says

B.C. NDP says Andrew Wilkinson is wrong about federal link

Parent, superintendent, trustee report smooth return to classrooms in B.C.

The biggest challenge is convincing families that it’s safe, some say

George Floyd asphyxiated by sustained pressure: family autopsy

Death sparked a wave of protests across the U.S. and abroad

Most Read