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‘Off to a good start’: B.C. premier on rollout of COVID-19 phase 2

B.C. premier says second phase of COVID-19 response is going well, but urges patience
B.C. premier says second phase of COVID-19 response is going well, but urges patience

B.C. Premier John Horgan says he is pleased with how things have gone since the province moved into Phase 2 of its COVID-19 reopening plan on Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters following the government’s weekly cabinet meeting, Horgan said the province is still working with some unnamed sectors on the new guidelines, announced on May 6.

“There are a number of sectors concerned they do not quite have the plan right for their success, but we will keep working on that together and get a better outcome as a result,” Horgan said.

B.C. premier says reopening of province off to a good start in weekly COVID-19 address
B.C. premier says reopening of province off to a good start in weekly COVID-19 address

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Which B.C. services can start to reopen on Tuesday, May 19?

“And although there have been bumps along the way and there will be bumps through the next week or two, I believe we are off to a good start. British Columbians are anxious to get back to whatever normal is going to be.”

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The restaurant sector, for example, has raised concerns around being able to afford to operate while reducing capacity by 50 per cent to adhere to social-distancing rules.

Businesses have also had to spend money on personal protective equipment and Plexiglas barriers. In some cases, the owners are passing those costs on to the consumer either as an additional fee or by raising prices overall.

READ MORE: ‘It’s the new gold’: COVID-19 has Plexiglas business booming

“We need to make sure we are not trying to force the opening of a business that is not ready to go. And we want to make sure we are not forcing employees into situations they are not comfortable with,” Horgan said.

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He also outlined plans to resume sittings of the B.C. legislature, which has been on pause since a special sitting on March 23.

Coronavirus outbreak: Premier Horgan on return of the B.C. legislature, school
Coronavirus outbreak: Premier Horgan on return of the B.C. legislature, school

MLAs are expected to return either June 15 or June 22 and will focus on getting the budget passed, Horgan said. Members will not be required to be in Victoria and not all elected officials will gather in the chamber.

“We’re going to be using multiple rooms within the legislature so that we can keep MLAs at a distance,” the premier said.

“We’ll be using a lot of technology that will perhaps allow members, far-flung members, to stay in their community, to be able to actually do their voting by computer at certain times during the day.”​

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Horgan also shared his condolences with the family of Capt. Jenn Casey, the Snowbirds pilot who crashed in Kamloops last weekend during the flight team’s tour to uplift the public during the pandemic.