On Wednesday, May 6, the provincial government unveiled its plan for restarting B.C.’s economy, a four-phase plan that would see businesses and other services slowly reopen across the province.
The province is currently at the end of phase one, which included social distancing and isolation.
B.C. is now headed towards phase two, with some businesses and parks reopening on Tuesday, May 19, just after the long weekend.
People will also be able to “double their bubble,” a term coined from New Zealand’s plan for reopening, allowing families to choose another family to expand their social bubble.
Doubling the bubble will allow people to spend time with those outside their immediate household, provided they still maintain social distance.
“I wouldn’t recommend more than eight people and keeping in mind there’s still a provincial order on groups over 50,” said Dr. Trina Larsen Soles, one of the physicians in Golden.
For Golden, the transition from phase one to phase two of the restarting B.C. plan means taking on a new level of preparedness, as local physicians begin to open up the hospital for non-emergency surgeries and procedures.
“When this first started, we were frantically preparing for something completely different, something that never fully materialized in B.C.,” said Larsen Soles.
“There’s a new focus now, on how do we do more at the hospital and the clinic and how do we safely get people in and out and resume surgeries.
“It’s a slow and gradual process.”
She emphasized the need for monitoring new spikes in cases as the province moves through its four stages of reopening.
The fourth stage will not be fully realistic until there’s a vaccine readily available, according to Larsen Soles.
If new cases spike, the next phase will need to be rolled back.
Larsen Soles said she has been impressed with the level of social distancing and isolation that has taken place in Golden.
She credits the community’s strong response as a reason why it has avoided becomiong a pandemic cluster point.
Across the province, these tactics and clamp-downs have been effective, allowing B.C. to become one of the better off provinces during the pandemic, according to Larsen Soles.
She believes B.C. to now be on the down side of the curve.
She says despite the success of these tactics, it’s important not to get lazy and instead to carry on with the measures, to avoid having coronavirus cases increase.
“We’ve done well, but in some ways, that’s more dangerous, because people don’t understand what the fuss was all about,” said Larsen Soles.
“I can assure you, in Fraser Valley where they had those clusters in long-term care homes and everyone’s grandma was dying, they have a much different attitude about it.”
Larsen Soles said that social distancing will be apart of a new normal.
“There’s going to be an attitude change and a new outlook on things like coming into work sick,” said Larsen Soles.
“Governments are looking at EI and different things with the federal government because people if they really need the money, they’re gonna come in to work sick.
“It speaks a lot to how the most essential workers right now often make the least.”
For now, the Physicians of Golden will continue to prepare for the next phase of reopening the province, while continuing to keep the community updated and informed about pandemic developments through their daily Facebook posts.