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Guidance documents

Public health guidance documents to help businesses, industry and governments continue operations during the pandemic.
Last updated - February 12, 2021

General guidance

Tools and strategies for safer operations during the pandemic

This resource describes the key principles for reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission, the role of public health authorities, and commonly available tools and strategies to support the public health response. It is intended to guide the development of plans for operating as safely and normally as possible during the pandemic.

Worker information for returning to safe operations

  • General and industry-specific guidance on protecting the health and safety of employees at work during COVID-19 and a safety plan template

Supports for businesses

Posters and reference materials

Essential services and essential workers

Most people arriving in B.C. from outside of Canada are required to self-isolate for 14 days, however, essential workers who travel outside of Canada during the pandemic must follow a separate set of precautions if they return to work. Essential workers are different than those who are exempt under the federal Quarantine Act.

‎Under the Provincial Health Officer Order, essential workers are people who provide services that are considered critical to preserving life, health, public safety, and basic societal functioning AND who have been identified by the leadership of their organization to be critical to delivering these services. This means not every single person who works for an organization that provides essential services is an essential worker.

The Order provides employers of essential services with the authority to determine whether or not an employee in their organization is an “essential worker”.

List of COVID-19 essential services

People who have been identified as an “essential worker” must follow a separate set of precautions if they return to work:

At work

- Attending the workplace only if asymptomatic;
- Following infection prevention and control protocols developed by your employer;
- Non-medical masks or face coverings are strongly recommended, particularly in environments where physical distancing is difficult;
- Avoiding standard greetings that require physical contact (e.g., shaking hands); and
- Reducing close contact with other workers by maintaining a distance of 2 metres and avoiding shared spaces.

At home

- Self-monitoring daily for symptoms of illness and calling 8-1-1 or using the BC COVID-19 Self Assessment Tool if symptoms start to occur;
- Self-isolating at home on days when you are not required at the workplace;
- Practicing basic COVID-19 precautions;
- Avoiding unnecessary visits to public establishments; and
- Following the direction of public health officials.

Travelling to and from work

- Avoiding close contact with others when travelling, unless those people are in your household

‎Employers determine whether an employee in an essential service should return to work earlier than 14 days after returning to Canada and B.C. Principles that employers should apply include:

- The paramount importance of preventing new introductions of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) in limiting the spread of the virus in B.C.;

- All travellers from outside of Canada are considered potential carriers of the virus and are required by provincial and federal orders to self-isolate for 14 days;

- The threshold for whether a returning worker is required for the delivery for essential services (e.g., what is the threshold where services could no longer be delivered and what is the risk of reduced or minimal staffing?);

- Assessing on a case-by-case basis, the risk of an employee returning to work before completing 14-day self-isolation, including:
   - determining where the employee travelled, recognizing the areas of the world with significant transmission;
   - the type of activities the employee was involved in (e.g., family visit versus large gathering events);
current symptom status of the employee; and
   - the work environment of the individual (e.g., independent, outside, or in a group setting).

All employers are required to develop a COVID-19 Safety Plan under the Order of the Provincial Health Officer and under requirements by WorkSafeBC.

Industry-specific guidance

Social and community services

Community spaces

 First responders

‎First Responders – March 18, 2020


SOURCE: Guidance documents ( )
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