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Businesses need to adjust COVID-19 safety plans daily amid long weekend: WorkSafeBC

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WorkSafeBC says businesses will need to readjust their COVID-19 safety plans this weekend as situations change

Large crowds could throw a wrench in some COVID-19 safety plans, head of prevention services at WorkSafeBC says

There have been more than 13,500 inquiries to WorkSafe's information line since March

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Whether you’re staying near home or heading out on a road trip over the B.C. long weekend, businesses all over the province need your help to keep everyone safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to WorkSafeBC, most businesses are being proactive by putting solid safety plans in place, calling into WorkSafe with questions, and staying on top of dynamic safety requirements.

However, large crowds could throw a wrench in some COVID-19 safety plans.

Al Johnson, who is the head of prevention services at WorkSafeBC, says this long weekend, which is often the busiest of the year for tourism hot spots, means coronavirus plans will need to be adjusted daily.

“More those sectors that interact with the public. So restaurants and hotels, where the public is also a factor. Things just get busier. Our message to employers and workers is to make sure your COVID safety plans, make sure you reevaluate as the landscape changes a little bit.”

There have been more than 13,500 inquiries to WorkSafe’s information line since March. Eleven-thousand of them have been questions about how best to keep each other safe.

“Obviously with COVID-19, it’s a newer risk in the workplace so there are a lot of questions, a lot of concern, and a lot of ambiguity that people want to get some direction on,” Johnson explains, adding many of those with questions are asking how they can better their own plans.

“The other issues that are reported are potential violations and, certainly, workplace incidents that occur.”

Johnson says most of WorkSafeBC’s efforts have been focused on being proactive, adding the objective is to prevent exposure and outbreaks.

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But things happen and WorkSafe is ready to respond.

“What we will do is respond to that employer and sort of ask questions. ‘Have you done an investigation? What does you investigation demonstrate to you? How did this occur? What failed with respect to your COVID safety plan that was in place? What aspect of your plan failed, possibly, to allow this exposure to happen?'” Johnson says. “And then we would, obviously, require them to strengthen their program, to reevaluate their program.”

Before going back to work, Johnson notes the company will also be required to ensure their COVID-19 safety plan is “shored up” to prevent any further exposure to the coronavirus.

Health experts have urged British Columbians to play safe and play small this long weekend, after an outbreak in Kelowna over the Canada Day long weekend forced more than 1,000 people to self-isolate. While many of the exposures were linked to parties, some restaurants were also identified as possible exposure locations.