Guidelines for regulated health professions coming in 'days': Horgan
VICTORIA -- As the province prepares for reopening next week, Premier John Horgan says regulated health professionals will get guidelines for their specific work later this week or early next week - effectively meaning most won’t open May 19.
Dr. Stephane Picard who owns and operates Downtown Dental Victoria just had plastic screens installed Tuesday to seal off client areas. He estimates all the precautions he’s implemented have cost him at least $10,000. Despite looking to Alberta and Manitoba, because they’ve established guidelines for dentists, he still can’t say when he’ll reopen.
"All our PPEs are starting to come in, and we’re ready to proceed. We’re just missing some guidelines,” explained Dr. Picard.
A statement on the Physiotherapy Association of B.C.'s website reads, "The PABC is continuing to work hard at getting more precise guidelines from the provincial government for our members."
At a weekly media availability on Wednesday, Horgan said WorkSafeBC and public health officials were finalizing the details which would be available in the coming days, either later this week or early next week.
"For those practitioners who are awaiting those those guidelines, I think they can take some fairly educated guesses on how they can protect their patients, how they can protect hygienists and other dental assistants," he added.
Liberals call for liquor laws to be relaxed
While regulated health professions were allowed to remain open on an emergency basis, restaurants were ordered closed during the pandemic. The BC Liberals argue many may be in danger of permanently closing and want the government to take action.
In a statement, Liberal party leader Andrew Wilkinson said, "Now is the time for ideas and bold actions to get these businesses up and running again while protecting the safety of both workers and customers."
Part of that bold action includes speeding up approvals for patio expansions, and reducing costs for liquor by allowing restaurants to purchase liquor from any store at warehouse prices.
In an interview with CTV News, Attorney General David Eby, who oversees liquor regulations, said much of that work is underway. He said the province and cities are looking at ways to expedite applications for additional patio space. Eby added work had been underway for more than a year to allow restaurants to purchase liquor at wholesale prices. He noted pursuing that route would also mean a hit to the province’s bottom line.
As for the program that lets customers purchase wine or beer with a meal on delivery apps, Eby said that is being evaluated.
"We’ve heard from restaurants in the industry that they like the program, we’ll see how it goes.”
He agreed other measures also may need to be looked at to help the sector.
'Not going to be going back to normal'
Horgan stated several times that this long weekend, no restrictions are being lifted and also told people not to expect a rush to open businesses come May 19.
"We are not going to be back to normal. We're going to start the process to bring back industries that were ordered shut by Dr. Henry, and she'll be revising her orders at the appropriate time.”