Friday, May 15, 2020 – 3:45pm
COVID-19 PANDEMIC UPDATE #43 – CITY OF NELSON
**NOTE: This weekend, the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) is transitioning to a virtual Level 1, and will remain in a readied state to address any emergent needs such as flooding, severe weather, wildfire, or COVID-19 related issues. As such, there will be no further EOC Media Updates, unless needed. Going forward focus will be on community recovery, which will include ongoing public communication as necessary.
WorkSafeBC Releases Industry-Specific Guidance for Next Phase of Restart
WorkSafeBC has released guidance and resources for employers resuming operations as part of Phase 2 of the provincial government’s restart plan.
“Every employer is required to have a COVID-19 Safety Plan that assesses the risk of exposure at their worksite and implements measures to keep their workers safe,” says Al Johnson, Head of Prevention Services at WorkSafeBC. “We’ve developed both general and industry-specific materials in consultation with industry and labour stakeholders to ensure they are practical and understandable for workplaces in each sector.”
Industry-specific guidelines and resources are now available for the following sectors:
Sector-specific guidelines for child care and recreation and sports will be available in the coming days.
To complement the protocols for specific industries, WorkSafeBC has also developed general resources intended for all workplaces. These include: a COVID-19 safety plan template, workplace posters, information on cleaning and hygiene practices, and guidance on the selection and use of masks.
WorkSafeBC reminds employers that they do not need to submit their safety plan for review or approval. WorkSafeBC Prevention Officers will, however, begin a province-wide verification and inspection initiative to ensure that employers have their plans in place and are keeping their workers safe.
“The planning process should involve workers for their input to ensure their concerns are heard and addressed,” said Johnson.
To view the guidelines for each sector: https://www.worksafebc.com/en/about-us/covid-19-updates/covid-19-returning-safe-operation
To view the full media release: https://www.worksafebc.com/en/about-us/news-events/news-releases/2020/May/worksafebc-releases-industry-specific%20guidance-for-next-phase-restart
BC Announces Part-Time, Voluntary Return to School June 1
Parents will have the choice of bringing their children back to class on a part-time basis starting June 1st, with the goal of returning to full-time classes in September 2020. To make sure schools are safe for students and staff, the number of students in school each day will be reduced. For Kindergarten to Grade 5, this means most students will go to school half time (such as alternating days), while Grades 6 to 12 will go to school about one day a week. Families that decide not to send their children to class may continue learning from home.
All schools will be required to implement strict health and safety measures, including:
· desks spaced apart and avoiding groups or gatherings of students in common areas;
· regular cleaning of high-contact surfaces like door knobs, toilet seats, keyboards and desks at least twice a day, and cleaning the school building at least once a day;
· students, educators and staff will be required to clean their hands before entering school property, and there will be more hand-sanitizing and cleaning stations available;
· staggered drop-offs, lunch and recess breaks, with increased outside time;
· staff and students (or their parents/guardians) must be assessed daily for symptoms of COVID-19 - if any have even mild symptoms, arrangements will be made for them to be returned home;
· one student per seat on school buses (unless children are from the same house), with plexiglass separating the bus driver from students;
· students/employees should not share food or personal items like phones, pens or pencils; and
· clear protocols need to be in place for the safe and healthy handling of all food items.
Each school district will determine scheduling for classes and transportation. Schools will contact families by May 22nd to make arrangements for children to return to in-class instruction.
“I want to assure all the staff, students and families that we will face the challenges that come with this transition together – and we will do it in a measured and thoughtful way,” said Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.
As B.C. takes steps towards a recovery by removing some of the restrictions, employers are encouraged to be flexible when it comes to arrangements for parents of school-age students.
To view the full media release: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020PREM0026-000890
New Guidelines for Childcare Centres in BCUpdated health and safety guidelines for Childcare Centres were released today, in order to support Childcare Centres that were closed to reopen safely.
These guidelines include:
· maintaining the physical space requirements set out in the Child Care Licensing Regulation.
· organizing children into smaller groups and/or spreading children out to reduce contact.
· cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces at least twice a day.
· setting up hand-hygiene stations at the entrance.
· staggering the timings of pickup and drop-off.
· having children outside often, including for learning activities, snack time and play time.
· ensuring each child has their own individual meal or snack.
· asking parents and caregivers to only bring personal comfort items (e.g., stuffies) if they are clean and can be laundered at the end of each day.
These guidelines will be complemented by WorkSafeBC guidelines for child care providers, which will be released next week.
Federal Government Extends the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy
Finance Minister Bill Morneau today announced that the Government of Canada will extend the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) by 12 weeks, to August 29, 2020. The CEWS helps businesses keep employees on the payroll and encourages employers to re-hire workers previously laid off.
Minister Morneau also announced the approval of regulations to extend eligibility for the CEWS to the following groups:
· Partnerships that are up to 50-per-cent owned by non-eligible members;
· Indigenous government-owned corporations that are carrying on a business, as well as partnerships where the partners are Indigenous governments and eligible employers;
· Registered Canadian Amateur Athletic Associations;
· Registered Journalism Organizations; and
· Non-public colleges and schools, including institutions that offer specialized services, such as arts schools, driving schools, language schools or flight schools.
To view the full media release: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/news/2020/05/government-extends-the-canada-emergency-wage-subsidy.html
Benefits Payments for Eligible Canadians to Continue Until Fall 2020
Minister of National Revenue Diane Lebouthillier announced that benefit payments will continue for an additional three months for those who are not able to file their 2019 returns on time. Eligible Canadians who are presently receiving the Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) credit and/or the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) will continue to receive these payments until the end of September 2020.
To help file taxes, free virtual clinics will be offered by local organizations. These clinics will be held on an interim basis to help those with low and modest incomes and a simple tax situation who are looking for support during tax season.
As previously announced as part of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, the tax filing deadline has been extended from April 30 to June 1, 2020.
To view the full media release: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/news/2020/05/benefits-payments-for-eligible-canadians-to-continue-until-fall-2020.html
Canada Summer Jobs Start Rolling Out to Keep Young People Working During COVID-19The Federal Government has officially kicked off the hiring period for Canada Summer Jobs (CSJ) 2020. Starting today, thousands of opportunities are being posted to the Job Bank website, with thousands more to be posted over the coming weeks and months (with a target of approximately 70,000 placements).
Temporary changes to CSJ were announced last month, and include allowing employers to offer part-time positions, and an extension of the hiring period to the end of February 2021.
All youth are encouraged to search for CSJ-funded jobs in their communities by visiting jobbank.gc.ca or by downloading the free Job Bank app.
To view the full media release: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/news/2020/05/canada-summer-jobs-start-rolling-out-to-keep-young-people-working-during-covid-19.html