Earlier this week, the B.C. Government announced that COVID-19 restrictions would be easing – beginning with the mask mandate, which has now been lifted. While you will still be required to wear a mask in certain settings, such as healthcare facilities (i.e., doctors’ offices), it is now up to British Columbians to decide, based on their own comfort level, whether they want to continue wearing a mask in other settings. For those who are not ready to stop wearing a face mask, or for individuals who are at high-risk of contracting COVID-19 (for example, if you are clinically extremely vulnerable/immunocompromised), the recommendation is that you continue to wear a mask – especially in indoor public settings – if you feel more comfortable doing. Masks are also still encouraged, but not mandatory, on public transit (such as buses and ferries.)
On April 8th, further restrictions will be lifted. This includes proof of vaccination no longer being required under public health order to access certain services, businesses, or events, as well as no longer being required for post-secondary student campus-housing. That being said, individual businesses and event organizers can choose to continue to require proof of vaccination for entry. Proof of vaccination will also continue to be required for federally regulated travel, such as air travel. You can find more about the federal regulations for COVID-19 by clicking here.
When it comes to business safety plans, these will also no longer be required effective April 8th. However, all businesses must continue to follow guidance for communicable diseases from WorkSafe BC. As part of this plan, employers must understand the risks for their employees – whether those risks are specific to their workplace, or certain employees who may be at higher risk than others, as well as be prepared to implement further measures when required to do so by public health. Employers must also continue to implement policies that ensure their workers are aware of any measures in place, have supports in place for employers working from home, and post any necessary signage in the workplace to explain the policies of your business.
Undoubtedly, the easing of these restrictions has left some British Columbians feeling quite anxious. If you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed, it’s important to find healthy ways to cope with those emotions, such as talking to a trusted individual, or doing other healthy activities like getting regular exercise, meditation, and even eating healthy, well-balanced meals as all of this can help improve the mood. As social media and television are two of the most common ways people get their news, overexposure can also lead to increased feelings of stress and anxiousness, so it is recommended that you consider scheduling TV and social media “blackout” times throughout the day to give yourself a bit of a break. Remember, prioritizing your mental health is just as important as prioritizing all other aspects of your health. For tips on how to better manage anxiety, visit www.anxietycanada.com.