Province set to enter Phase 3 of restart plan

B.C. is moving into Phase 3 of its restart plan.

Premier John Horgan made the announcement at a mid-day press conference on Wednesday, along with Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

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With the entry into Phase 3, all Phase 2 guidelines and safety precautions will remain in place, but travel within B.C. and some economic activity can resume.

Horgan said under the guidance of WorkSafe BC and public health, hotels, resorts, parks, the film industry and some entertainment venues such as movie theatres, can resume operations under certain guidelines.

Travel within B.C. is no longer discouraged, but Horgan and Henry both said travellers must be safe and respectful when visiting other communities.

"This is not a return to normal. We need to make sure we maintain the practices of our own community as we travel to other communities," he said.

Those practices include maintaining physical distance, keeping hands clean, wearing a mask and staying home when sick.

Horgan said travellers should also have a plan when moving around the province, and be mindful of who they come into contact with — which will be especially important for contact tracing should someone fall ill.

Henry said people must continue to keep their circle of contacts small and to keep taking precautions.

"If we go too far, we risk a rebound and risk losing the ground we've worked so hard to get," she said.

Both officials said despite travel being allowed, this is not the time for large family gatherings or big parties.

Horgan also answered questions about the restart of the film industry, saying that with B.C. in such a good position in terms of COVID-19, it has some added appeal.

"Compared to Hollywood, Hollywood North is looking pretty good," he said, joking that he has run out of things to watch on Netflix and wouldn't mind some new content.

When asked about the economic impact COVID-19 has had in B.C., Horgan said he doesn't know, at this point, and that an update is due to come from Finance Minister Carole James in the second week of July.

"I can't. I can tell you that it's a hole, and it's a big one," he said, noting that every province in Canada and every state in the United States has been similarly affected.

"It's been catastrophic for globalism, catastrophic for the economy," he said.

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