'No fines or tickets' for Okanagan or Kamloops businesses within Interior Health | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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'No fines or tickets' for Okanagan or Kamloops businesses within Interior Health

The use of Plexiglass to protect workers has been a key tool that has allowed restaurants and other businesses to successfully re-open. This is Soleda Flores at Molly’s Café in Kelowna.
June 22, 2020 - 7:00 AM

One month after launching Phase 2 of B.C.’s COVID-19 re-opening plan and just days before Phase 3 is likely to be announced, Interior business are showing that they’re doing it right.

There have been no new cases in the entire Interior Health region – with a population of about 800,000 people – in the last five days and only two in almost a month.

Phase 2 allowed bars and restaurants to re-open as of May 19 after being ordered closed on March 17.

While retail outlets weren’t ordered closed, most shut down during the pandemic due to a lack of customers. They, too, started re-opening on May 19. Now, for example, only 15 of about 160 stores in Kelowna’s Orchard Park mall are still listed as closed on its web site.

Interior Health and WorkSafeBC both have responsibility to make sure businesses are following safe distancing and cleanliness rules as they re-open.

“There have been no fines or tickets issued by our licensing team,” Interior Health stated in an email to iNFOnews.ca. “The licensing process is always education first.”

WorkSafeBC issued guidelines for restaurants, pubs, stores and others to re-open and takes a similar approach to enforcement.

“As part of a province-wide inspectional initiative, WorkSafeBC’s approach has been to consult and educate employers to help them with their COVID-19 Safety Plan and ensure they are assessing risks to workers and implementing measures to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 in the workplace,” it stated in a news release. “Enforcement measures will be considered if employers are not taking measures to protect workers from COVID-19 exposure.”

There have been three COVID-19-related orders issued by WorkSafeBC to businesses in the Thompson and Okanagan region.

WorkSafeBC did not comment on the nature of those orders or where they were.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry will give a modelling update next Tuesday, after which the province is expected to move to Phase 3 of its re-opening plan. That may be announced Wednesday when Premier John Horgan normally gives his weekly update.

The key part of the next re-opening phase is that people will be encouraged to travel throughout the province, which means resorts and hotels will start filling up.

Some aspects of Phase 3 are already in place, such as the restart to the film industry and campgrounds re-opening.

But, on the government web site, Phase 3 also includes movies and symphonies being allowed in July, but not large concerts.

Phase 4, which has no target date at this time, will not happen until there are widely available vaccinations, community immunity or successful treatments.

That will allow for large gatherings such as conventions, professional sports in front of live audiences, concerts and international tourism.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © iNFOnews, 2020

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