B.C. will announce plans to reopen next week: Horgan
VICTORIA -- The premier of British Columbia says the province will announce its plans to reopen the economy post-COVID-19 and allow more social interactions next week.
John Horgan also announced that B.C. has extended its provincial state of emergency for an additional 14 days as the number of cases of the novel coronavirus continues to rise.
"I know that everyone's looking forward to resuming normal activities – spending more time with loved ones who have been separated over the past number of weeks – and we want to see that as well," Horgan said from Victoria on Wednesday.
"It's going to take resolute action by all of us to ensure that we continue to make progress rather than give up the progress that has been so hard fought for over the past month and a half."
B.C. has been under a state of emergency since March 18 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The emergency declaration was extended on April 15 for two weeks, expiring Tuesday.
Horgan said that, unlike other provinces, B.C. did not order some businesses to close, such as those in the construction industry
"As we open up sectors, we're also asking people to come up with their ideas of how they can best operate," Horgan said, singling out the restaurant sector for successfully adapting to the coronavirus pandemic.
"We are the envy of the country," Horgan said. "It's not about me, it's about the people of B.C. who put the interests of all of us ahead of their personal interests."
Horgan said B.C.'s plan to reopen will be "slow and methodical," adding that no economic recovery can happen unless businesses, consumers and workers feel safe returning to places of business.
“The only way we build that confidence is to have a set of common protocols, common guidelines, in place to protect workers, in place to protect consumers,” he said.
Horgan said he doesn't expect regular classes at schools to resume until at least September.
After Horgan spoke Wednesday, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced that four more people had died from COVID-19 in B.C.
The deaths all occurred among seniors in long-term care, and they bring the total death toll in the province to 109.
Henry also announced 34 new cases of the coronavirus in the province, bringing the total number of cases confirmed through testing in B.C. to 2,087.