With more than 60% of adults vaccinated with their first dose and COVID-19 case counts and hospitalizations steadily declining, British Columbia is moving forward with the cautious first step of a four-step plan for a careful and safe restart.
“British Columbians have sacrificed so much over the last 15 months to help keep people and our communities safe,” said Premier John Horgan. “We have made tremendous strides with our vaccination program, and we are now in a position where we can move forward with a plan to slowly bring us back together. As we have done throughout this pandemic, we will be closely following the guidance of public health and supporting people and businesses as we take the next steps in putting this pandemic behind us.”
BC’s Restart – a four-step plan to bring B.C. back together will be a slow and gradual return to a more normal life, with safety and health protocols such as mask wearing and physical distancing remaining in place and mandatory during the initial two steps of the plan.
The four-step plan was designed based on data and guidance from the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) and Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer (PHO). Progressing through the steps will be measured by the number of adults vaccinated, COVID-19 case counts and hospitalizations and deaths, taking into account clusters and outbreaks. While there are approximate dates, the plan will be guided by data, not dates, and will not proceed to the next step until it is safe to do so based on guidance from public health and the latest available data.
“We have been on a long and tiring journey, and now we can start to chart our path forward to brighter days ahead,” Henry said. “To be successful in this next phase of the pandemic, we need to keep COVID-19 low and slow. To do that, we need to be slow and measured in our approach, gradually turning up the dial on how we spend time together – whether that is socializing with family, going to work or visiting friends.”
The step-by-step plan will follow approximate timelines and will ease people and businesses slowly out of the pandemic. Here is the approximate timeline:
Step 1: May 25
Step 2: Mid-June (June 15 – earliest date)
Step 3: Early July (July 1 – earliest date)
Step 4: Early September (Sept. 7 – earliest date)
Full details on the four-step plan can be found on BC’s Restart: A plan to bring us back together page
“We are able to begin this restart because of the sacrifice and dedication from so many people and businesses throughout B.C.,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation. “As we transition through the restart plan, we will continue to engage with businesses, industry and key stakeholders. I know that the entrepreneurial spirit of B.C.’s business community will again rise to the challenge as we work together to build a brighter and better future with meaningful jobs and a strong, sustainable economy for all.”
The Province is formally extending the provincial state of emergency through the end of the day on June 8, 2021, allowing health and emergency management officials to continue to use extraordinary powers under the Emergency Program Act to support the Province’s COVID-19 pandemic response. The original declaration was made on March 18, 2020, the day after Henry declared a public health emergency, and can be extended for periods of up to 14 days at a time.
Provincial travel restrictions will continue to be enforced until Step 2 of the four-step plan.
To view the May 25, 2021, media presentation on BC’s Restart, visit: http://news.gov.bc.ca/files/BCRestartPlan.pdf
To learn more about BC’s Restart – a four-step plan to bring B.C. back together, visit: https://www.gov.bc.ca/restartbc
To learn about B.C.’s current travel restrictions, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/covidtravel
To learn about current PHO restrictions, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/COVIDrestrictions
To get registered to get a first or second dose of COVID-19 vaccine, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/getvaccinated.html
For technical immunization information, visit the BCCDC’s website: www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19/covid-19-vaccine
For more information on what to expect when you go to get vaccinated for COVID-19, visit: www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19/covid-19-vaccine/getting-a-vaccine
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