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

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

A dose of COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at a vaccination clinic in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
39 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health region

The total number of cases in the region since the pandemic began is now at 7,334

The Site C Dam location is seen along the Peace River in Fort St. John, B.C., Tuesday, April 18, 2017. The cost of British Columbia’s Site C hydroelectric dam has grown to $16 billion and the completion has been moved up a year to 2025. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
BC Liberal energy critic blasts ‘lack of transparency’ on Site C

MLA Tom Shypitka says Site C going ahead is a ‘good thing’, blames NDP for mismanagement

Volunteers from the Elk River Alliance cleared 14 car batteries from the Elk River near Elkford this week. (Photo contributed)
Elk River Alliance to move to more holistic environmental monitoring

The details of the ERA’s 2021 program will be discussed at the AGM next month

The Kitimat RCMP responded to false alarms, an apartment fire and more between Jan. 29 to Feb. 3, 2021. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Sparwood backs campaign to study Surrey RCMP impact

The City of Surrey is home to the largest RCMP detachment in the province

Brent Bidston is the president of Angel Flight East Kootenay. Black Press file photo.
RDEK ponders funding for Angel Flight East Kootenay

The district is considering funding for operations or to eventually help acquire a larger plane

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Most Read