Premier Horgan says 'new normal' after pandemic will mean a better world for many in B.C. - InfoNews

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Premier Horgan says 'new normal' after pandemic will mean a better world for many in B.C.

Premier John Horgan
Image Credit: flickr
April 22, 2020 - 2:44 PM

B.C. Premier John Horgan expects to make announcements before mid-May about safe ways to gradually re-open the province in the wake of COVID-19 but stressed that we will never return to the world we once knew – which will be a good thing in some ways.

“What the world looks like in the months ahead will not be what the world looked like in the rear view mirror,” he said during a news briefing following the weekly cabinet meeting today, April 22.

One thing that will certainly change is the rule, which is still being implemented, that long-term care staff will work in only one facility.

Many of the serious cases and deaths caused by COVID-19 came in long-term care homes where thousands of staff worked in more than one facility and contributed to the transmission of the disease from one home to another.

Horgan pointed to a report written by seniors advocate Isobel Mackenzie before the pandemic that showed about 80 per cent of long-term care facilities were not meeting basic minimum standards.

"Health Minister Adrian Dix set out to fix that in the old world. Now that we’re in a new world and we see the catastrophic outbreaks in our long-term care facilities and the terrible loss of lives and loved ones, in some cases, no longer being able to say goodbye to their parents or their grandparents, is something we do not want to ever see again,” Horgan said.

He pointed to the recent COVID-19 outbreak in a poultry plant in Vancouver as an indication that sick leave provisions have to change. In that situation, a number of people went to work, despite being sick, out of fear of losing pay.

The pandemic has also shown the value and cost-effectiveness of technology in the school system. Improving band width in remote areas and making sure every student has access to the technology is now a bigger priority.

But, he also pointed to the poultry plant outbreak along with one in a federal jail as warning signs that everyone has to be diligent about safe distancing, cleanliness and not going to work sick.

If the economy is going to successfully reopen, he said, people will have to feel safe going out to work and shop.


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