B.C. care home residents and their loved ones have a chance to resume in-person visits, under strict COVID-19 pandemic conditions to be finalized within the next week to 10 days.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced the lifting of essential-only visits June 30, after the province struggled to prevent and contain outbreaks of the novel coronavirus.
To start, assisted living and long-term care homes will allow a designated visitor for each patient, once each facility has a written plan in place to meet public health conditions and visitor screening and scheduling in place.
Dix and Henry acknowledged that allowing only essential visits and turning most relatives away has been difficult.
“You have sacrificed more than many,” Henry said.
“It’s not just about extending life but about living life, and that involves engaging with people you love,” Dix said.
Bernard Avenue closed to vehicle traffic through much of the summer, allowing pedestrians and businesses to take over the streets.
The program was hastily launched during the pandemic to allow businesses to expand their patios and operations into the street, allowing for additional seating at a time when indoor seating was restricted. Pedestrians, cyclists, skateboarders and other forms of active transportation took up the middle of the roadway.
Pedestrian numbers skyrocketed and businesses – for the most part – reported success with the pilot project. Despite the pandemic, a survey circulated to businesses on the street by the city showed 88 per cent saw financial results that were the same or higher than in 2019. The same percentage indicated a willingness to participate in the program again in future years.
In November, council approved plans to have the patio expansion and road closure happen annually.