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Posted: May 9, 2020

Provincial reopening plan needs more clarity

By Doug Clovechok

Like many of you, I was anxious and excited to hear the government finally announce B.C.’s reopening plan this past Wednesday.

We have all been eagerly awaiting answers as to when and how businesses can reopen, when we can reconnect with our loved ones, and if we can get back to enjoying our favourite parks and activities. I must admit the government’s plan left us with less clarity and guidelines than I had hoped for.

As British Columbians, we are fortunate to have Dr. Bonnie Henry and her team leading our province through this pandemic. I have also been overwhelmingly proud of the dedication and sacrifice made by British Columbians to follow her guidance in the past several weeks as we collectively navigate through this challenging time and I am confident that we will all continue to follow those necessary best practices.

Now it’s time for government to step up and lead British Columbians through this transition period by providing a clear and direct message to individuals, families, and businesses on how B.C. will reopen its economy. British Columbians are looking to the province for long-term support and guidance in the economic challenges that lie ahead.

I have heard from many constituents in Columbia River-Revelstoke regarding the unique challenges they are facing right now. These include businesses that rely on out-of-province visitors, and residents facing increased unemployment. Our businesses and their employees are now waiting for industry-specific guidelines to provide a roadmap to reopening. So far, we have seen several short-term programs announced, but we are lacking a long-term strategy that will get British Columbia back to the prosperous province we all know and love. We know we need to be flexible while we work through this unprecedented situation, but guidelines should be in place to help ease the minds of the many people who want to know how, and when they’re going to get back on their feet.

After advocating for our provincial parks and recreation sites to safely reopen, I am pleased to see that some restrictions will be lifted in the coming weeks. However, a series of questions on how we will make this transition remain unanswered. I will continue to join virtual round tables hosted by our local chambers of commerce; I appreciate the thoughtful questions and shared concerns those attendees bring forward to me during each meeting. I will continue to do my part to provide answers to residents who are seeking clarity.

Please keep monitoring the government’s website for updates and information.

There is a new toll-free number for B.C. residents/businesses to call, should they have specific questions around COVID and life in BC: 1-888-COVID19.

My offices are still available to assist with provincial matters five days a week. Don’t hesitate to contact me at 1-844-432-2300, or [email protected]

Lead image: One of the starkest views of impacts on the economy from COVID-19 is empty parking lots in usually busy locations, such as Kimberley Alpine Resort in this photo, back when the ski season would have normally been coming to a close. Carrie Schafer/e-KNOW photo 

– Doug Clovechok is Columbia River-Revelstoke MLA

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