April 19, 2021
Dear ABLE BC members and industry colleagues,
During this afternoon’s press conference, Dr. Bonnie Henry publicly confirmed:
“ALL current guidelines and order will remain in place. Over the coming five weeks through to the end of the May long weekend it is critical that we focus our efforts to follow the guidelines:
- Continue to focus on the basics to reduce transmission
- Especially focus on in-person social interactions. Be very purposeful about who you are seeing and where you are going, stick with the same few contacts.
- Stay within your health region and as much as possible your local community. Strictly follow the travel guidelines.”
This means the ban on indoor dining will continue through to the end of the May long weekend.
We understand extending the ban on indoor dining is incredibly frustrating. The only good news is that we’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Dr. Henry has said that by June there will be enough vaccine in BC to vaccinate everyone. She anticipates that by June, we’ll be in a very different place and able to relax many public health protocols by then. We just need to make it through to then.
We also know this order comes with catastrophic financial consequences for our industry. ABLE BC has already opened conversations with government about the need for additional financial support for our industry caused by this extended ban. The recently announced Circuit Breaker Business Relief Grants of up to $10,000 were based on the projected need for the ‘Circuit Breaker’ public orders set to expire on April 19. We know they they are inadequate to support members for the duration of this extended ban.
We will offer more details as soon as they are available. If you have any other questions or concerns, please contact email@example.com.
Review your COVID-19 Safety Plans
Dr. Henry is calling “on all businesses to redouble efforts to implement COVID-19 safety plans.”
Government will continue with ‘workplace outbreak management protocols’ to avoid broad closures across entries industries. Read more about the recent workplace closure powers given to WorkSafeBC in last week’s update.
Dr. Henry explicitly stated: “Don’t push the limits on patios and the numbers of people. [If you do] you will be closed until you are able to adhere to the appropriate COVID safety plan.”
Get your COVID-19 safety plan reviewed by go2HR’s team of health and safety experts. To register for this complimentary safety plan review service, click here.
New Travel Restrictions
During the press conference, Premier Horgan said new travel restrictions are coming to reduce the movement of people and prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
The Premier said the province has been working with the tourism industry to reject bookings from people travelling outside their local areas.
Solicitor General Mike Farnworth is drafting orders to further restrict travel, the Premier added, to stop people from leaving their health authority for non-essential reasons. These orders should be available by the end of the week.
The Premier said random audits of travellers will also be made to make sure people are complying with rules and BC Ferries is going to stop taking booking for people with recreational vehicles.
Signs will be placed along the BC-Alberta border to remind travellers that they shouldn’t be coming to BC unless it is for essential reasons.
Paid leave for workers to get COVID-19 vaccination
Earlier today, Minister of Labour Harry Bains introduced legislation requiring paid vaccination leave for all workers. The new law will require employers to give workers up to three hours of paid leave to get each dose of their COVID-19 vaccine.
Employers in all sectors are obviously dedicated to encouraging and supporting their employees to get vaccinated. While ABLE BC lauds steps to increase vaccination rates for British Columbians, we strongly object to adding additional costs being unloaded on BC’s liquor and hospitality industry.
This decision could add tens of millions of additional labour costs to the hospitality, accommodation, and tourism industries. It is simply illogical to ask industry to incur these costs at the very moment when many businesses are only surviving because of financial supports, such as the federal wage and rent subsidies and the provincial Circuit Breaker and Small Business Recovery Grants.
As we noted in our update last week, ABLE BC joined the Coalition of BC Business in expressing our serious concerns about the undue hardship this new law will place on the liquor and hospitality industries. Read the Coalition’s full letter to Minister Bains.
If you have any other questions or concerns, please contact ABLE BC: firstname.lastname@example.org.