COVID-19 (Coronavirus) – Update #20

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Dear Strata Councils,

It has been a while since our last update as there have been few policy developments with respect to COVID-19 for a number of months. However, with reopening on the horizon (the Province is set to announce a Reopening Plan today, May 25) we wanted to update you on some of the changes to expect in the weeks and months to come, along with other important recommendations relating to COVID-19.

Vaccinations – There has been a great deal of good news on this front in recent weeks. As of May 21, Canada surpassed the U.S. in the proportion of people who have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. More importantly, the available vaccines appear to be very effective and safe. Here in BC the recent “circuit breaker” implementation seems to have blunted the sharp increase in cases, hospitalizations and deaths, which peaked in April. Current trends indicate a meaningful reduction of the impacts of COVID-19 over the next few months, hopefully allowing you and yours to enjoy an excellent summer. There is a great deal of reason to be optimistic!

Officials are hopeful that vaccine uptake will continue to be strong, and to assist with that process we’ve prepared the attached generic memo, which you may post at your properties if you desire. We can all assist in reducing barriers for individuals and families who don’t know how to register and book vaccine appointments.

Vaccines & Staffing – We have been asked by many clients whether they are allowed to require their staff members to be vaccinated. This is no doubt going to be a very tricky subject of conversation, but at this time we’re unaware of any case law or legal advice suggesting vaccinations can be made mandatory for employees, regardless of the type of role they play (i.e. high contact). Please note that employees are entitled to three hours of paid leave to receive vaccinations. You may want to remind them of this as a subtle encouragement to take advantage of the opportunity. We will continue to monitor legal developments around the subject of vaccinations in the coming months.

Amenity Reopening – Many of you are beginning to consider reopening amenities at your properties, including gyms, theatre and party rooms, guest suites and more. We wanted to remind you of the importance of ensuring you have a COVID-19 safety plan in place that outlines occupancy limits, cleaning protocols and other steps you intend to take to mitigate the risk of transmission of the virus in these shared spaces. You can review more information about amenity reopening including WorkSafe safety plan templates, from our previous bulletin on this topic.

Masks in Fitness Facilities – On May 18, the Province announced that masks are now mandatory at all times within fitness facilities. Previously, there was an exemption in place “while” exercising, but that exemption has been removed. We encourage you to update your signage and policies accordingly, as we are unaware of any exemption for Strata fitness facilities and don’t anticipate one being put in place.

Back To Work Planning & What’s To Come? – Most organizations are planning on a gradual return to the norm, of course with many changes to what “normal” looks like. Ours is no exception. We are working hard to put in place a plan to reopen our offices once it is safe to do so. This would allow us to host outside visitors and to have more staff in the office at any given time. That said, at this time there have been no changes to our WorkSafe policies. We remain closed to the public, are not holding meetings in person and most of our staff are working remotely. We will communicate plans to you once we have a better sense of the public health measures that will remain in place as we enter this new phase of the pandemic.

As always, we thank you for your continued support. Stay safe!