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Employers & Businesses

Here you will find information for essential businesses.

To protect those most vulnerable, and to make sure that our health system is able to care for those who become severely ill, we are asking people to self-monitor their health and to apply a low threshold when feeling unwell to stay home until they are better.

List of essential services in B.C. during the COVID-19 pandemic

Essential services are those daily services essential to preserving life, health, public safety and basic societal functioning. They are the services British Columbians rely on in their daily lives.

Developed by Emergency Management BC in consultation with other government ministries and the provincial health officer (PHO), this definition is intended to clarify what qualifies as an essential service in the context of the Province’s response to COVID-19.  In consultation with the PHO, these services should and are encouraged to remain open. They must, however, follow the orders and guidance provided by the PHO to ensure safe operations and reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19.

The Provincial Health Officer has ordered some types of businesses to close. Any business or service that has not been ordered to close and are also not identified on the essential service list may stay open if they can adapt their services and workplace to the orders of the Provincial Health Officer.

Child care providers and schools providing care and/or in-class instruction for children are to prioritize placements for those children whose parents are employed in Health and Health Services, Social Services, Law Enforcement, First Responders, and Emergency Response.

A list of essential services can be found on the provincial government’s website and it includes the following essential services:

  • Health and health services (direct-to-public health services and health service providers)
  • Law enforcement, public, safety, first responders and emergency response personnel
  • Vulnerable population service providers
  • Critical infrastructure service providers
  • Food and agriculture service providers
  • Transportation, infrastructure, manufacturing
  • Sanitation
  • Communications, information sharing, IT
  • Non-health essential service providers


More information

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