Municipality of North Cowichan office. Photo by Sharon Vanhouwe.
Following the recent announcement by the provincial that it’s proceeding with a phased-in plan to gradually re-open the economy, municipalities and regional district are now beginning preparations to allow people back into facilities.
North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring says they are looking to the province for guidance as they try to find ways to safely welcome people back into public buildings.
He says North Cowichan has installed plexiglass screens at city hall to allow people to come in and pay property taxes in person.
Siebring says it’s essential to ensure that people who are coming in and lining up can do so safely by maintaining the correct distance from each other.
He says North Cowichan has been functioning at about 95 percent of normal levels, with many of its staff working from home.
With guidance from public health officials, the provincial government plans to lift restrictions in phases, gradually allowing more social and economic activity, while closely monitoring health information to minimize the risk to the public.
The province is presently beginning the second phase of re-opening, and the third phase, the opening up of additional businesses and services, will happen between June and September 2020, if transmission rates remain low or are declining.
It’s unclear when recreation facilities such as community centres and recreation facilities will be open.
Phase 2, which will begin in mid-May, includes:
– small social gatherings;
– a resumption of elective surgeries and regulated health services like physiotherapy, dentistry, chiropractors and in-person counselling;
– provincial parks open for day use;
– opening more non-essential businesses in keeping with safe operations plans;
– recalling the provincial legislature for regular sittings.