Workplace inspections are going to increase as the B.C. government copes with a steep rise in COVID-19 cases, Premier John Horgan says.
Additional WorkSafeBC inspectors are being mobilized, along with municipal bylaw staff to step up enforcement of Dr. Bonnie Henry’s latest restrictions on gatherings and some indoor businesses like exercise classes in the Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health regions, Horgan told reporters in Victoria Nov. 9.
The stricter measures announced on the weekend for Metro Vancouver are the focus of new enforcement, but Horgan emphasized that a surge in the coronavirus pandemic is being seen in all parts of B.C. and around the world. The “dangerous increase” puts the government’s priority on essential services, including keeping schools open and maintaining surgical services after months of delayed procedures as the health care system braced for the worst of the pandemic, he said.
“If you don’t know people that you’re gathering with, you need to find another way to gather,” Horgan said.
Asked if failing to flatten the COVID-19 curve could mean a return to B.C.’s stricter measures in stage one, which included shutting pubs, hair salons and other businesses, Horgan said: “That’s the end result if we don’t start to see these numbers come down.”
For schools, Horgan said there is a ruling coming from the Labour Relations Board mandating more consultation between teachers, parents and school officials to control the virus.
Horgan said he is working to get a new cabinet sworn in as quickly as possible, with an eye to having the B.C. legislature sit before the end of the year. A top order of business is to authorize the expenditure of more than $1.4 billion to send pandemic relief payments to all but the highest-earning households, as promised during the election campaign.