Op Ed: the BC Restart plan

BC announces its Restart Plan in May 2021
B.C. begins next phase of safe restart plan Premier John Horgan and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announce how British Columbians will be taking the next step in BC’s Restart Plan with a gradual transition to Phase 3, including the safe and respectful return of travel and tourism within the province. Photo: Government of BC.

The announcement of the thoughtfully calculated B.C. Restart plan on May 25th was welcome news to us all. Our economy is composed of sectors who have had incredibly different experiences of the pandemic, and we’ve experienced that in our communities around the world. We are all happy to see this roadmap for reopening the economy in the coming summer months. 

The need for clarity has been crucial for businesses, especially those whose currently precarious positions require careful forward planning to balance costs and regain profit. To have this set of guidelines means strategic plans can be made taking into account the movement of people (a collective act that has become rather unfamiliar to us as humans!).  

For businesses that have suffered the most, like tourism, events and hospitality, it’s time to breathe a (light) sigh of relief. Provincial travel opens mid-June and national travel can be part of our summer planning. We might see fairs and festivals go ahead this summer — it’s hard to imagine now after going so long without the experience of getting lost in a crowd. This is especially welcoming news after watching many countries around the world begin to open up before us. 

It’s important to remember that while the Restart plan “signals a light at the end of the tunnel,” as Tourism Vancouver Island’s President & CEO and Chair Anthony Everett says,
“it won’t be without its challenges.” We have certainly all learned to proceed with caution and to set realistic expectations. For me, that’s not being able to book a flight to see my family in the UK quite yet. 

Over the last year we have all learned how interdependent we really are. For those of us who are holding steady jobs, we have a responsibility as consumers to spend and support businesses that are reopening. I’ve already made a few restaurant bookings for June. Consider adding some tours onto your provincial or national holiday this summer, things you might not normally do. 

As for the phased return to the office, the roadmap gives us a framework but I’ll be watching and listening with interest to see how individual businesses roll this out. There has been so much speculation on the future of the office, and people are truly divided on their feelings about where and how they want to work. I hope that the structure provided by the Province for what’s possible creates multiple possibilities for what will be.

More reading:

B.C.’s Restart Plan – we’re going to the new normal, says Premier.