What We Know and What’s Next for BC’s Restart Plan

After the announcement of BC’s Restart Plan this week, we know you are all anxious for more information — we understand, and we are committed to keeping you informed as we learn more. While we are still missing many of the details, we thought we would outline what we know, what we don’t know, what we’re doing, and what you can do in the meantime.

What we know of BC’s Restart Plan:

  • All personal service establishments seem to be included in Phase 2 of the government’s restart plan for the province. At this point in time, we have no reason to believe that any groups will be excluded (i.e. hair stylists, estheticians, nail technicians, etc.) — however, we cannot guarantee it.
    *While many of you have mentioned Premier John Horgan noting “hotels and spas” in Phase 3, this is not consistent with the official plan here. We believe this was a speaking error, and he meant “hotels and resorts.”
  • Phase 2 is to begin mid- to late- May, “after the long weekend.” From what we understand, Tuesday, May 19th is the most probable date.
  • There will be new standards in regard to PPE, sanitation, and salon/spa hygiene competence for all personal service establishments, coming directly from the Provincial Health Office (PHO) and enforced by Public Health Inspectors.
  • There will be new standards in regard to worker safety and employer and employee relations (how people are protected in the workspace), coming directly from WorkSafeBC.

What we don’t know:

  • An official start date for Phase 2 to take effect.
  • Official or finalized PPE and sanitation standards.
  • Official or finalized workplace and employee/employer relations standards.

What we are doing in the meantime:

  • Working with WorkSafeBC.
    Our Executive Director Greg Robins met with the leadership yesterday, May 7th, to voice our recommendations. We will review their recommendations on Monday and provide our input before they are officially released.
  • Working with the Provincial Health Office.
    They have our official recommendation document, and we are in continual conversation with them as they develop official standards.
  • We are advocating for fairness and asking that no personal service professionals are excluded.
  • We are calling for consideration and clear guidelines for home-based and mobile businesses.
  • We are advocating for inclusivity and asking that clients who require a family-member to accompany/assist them while out be allowed to patronize personal service establishments.
  • Based on your feedback, we are asking that the requirement of eye goggles and face shields be optional and/or circumstantial based on the service being performed.

What you can do in the meantime:

While the restart plan is still very vague, we want to avoid directing you to waste any time, energy or resources on possibilities that may never come to be. At the same time, we feel confident that the below items will be included in the official standards soon to be released by the government.

*We also know that availability of these items may be an issue due to demand. We ask that you are responsible by not hoarding more than you need and reserving medical masks for the health practitioners that require them until further notice.

  1. Source and stock up on masks.
    Masks will more than likely be required for all practitioners. While we are unsure what grade will be required, we do know that they will need to be of a high manufactured quality (i.e. not made of home-made materials, full coverage of the mouth and nose so breath cannot escape through the sides).
    Masks may also be required to be worn by clients, so you will need to consider if you will supply these (for free or for purchase) or turn away clients who show up without their own mask.
    We will be working on providing you with appropriate sources as information becomes available.
  2. Source and stock up on virucide.
    This is a very specific professional solution intended for surface cleaning that actively kills viruses. It will be clear on the label whether the solution is a virucide.
    Again, we will be working to provide you with appropriate sources as information becomes available.
  3. Source and stock up on capes, gowns and appropriate coverings for clients.
    Freshly laundered capes, gowns and towels will be required for each client — absolutely no sharing. They will need to be washed in hot water (60+ degrees Celsius) between uses.
  4. Remove any unnecessary objects.
    There will be a “clean desk policy” in place, so that only items necessary for the service will be allowed out. Remove any magazines, decorations, candles, candies, samples, brochures, menus, testers, etc.
  5. Remove or decommission any water or refreshment stations.
    We believe bottled water may be the only offering allowed for the time being, despite its environmental implications.
  6. Prepare your space to mitigate traffic flow and abide by social distancing guidelines.
    Look into removing seats from your waiting area, taping floor markers, distancing shampoo basins and workstations (or decommissioning every other if distancing is not possible).
  7. Be prepared to treat and sanitize tools, by submerging for at least 10 minutes.
    While exact standards are still to come, we know that longer and more strenuous sanitation standards are certain. We recommend having duplicate tools, having buckets or containers for submersion, and considering longer time between clients.
  8. Stock up on hand sanitizer and hand soap.
    We know that hand sanitizer will need to be available near your front door at all times. Other locations or supply requirements are TBD.
  9. Be prepared to change your employee and client cancellation policies.
    While exact standards are TBD, we do know that public safety is a top priority of the government. Therefore, you can be sure that missing work or appointments for illness is not only going to be acceptable but required.

We’ve also included some additional tips that will help you prepare to be as successful as possible in advance for Restart Plan

  1. Meet with your team.
    Ensure that they understand that the requirements of their position will be changing, and your business needs to abide by government standards.
  2. Communicate with your clients.
    Likewise, you will need to set renewed expectations with your clients. The services and atmosphere your business offers may look different, and there will be expectations for them as well — i.e. limiting items that they may bring in, staying outside until they are called, no guest accompaniment, etc.
  3. Consider your (and your team’s) safety, as well as financial viability.
    For example, are there certain services that you want to limit or postpone offering? If you are required to install a plexiglass shield for a service, is this your first priority?
  4. Manage expectations when booking appointments.
    Without an official restart plan date, you may want to hold off from booking appointments. Alternatively, you may consider building a schedule based on days open (i.e. Day 1, Day 2, etc.) and applying it to the calendar when a date is announced. Though not perfect, it may provide a start.COVID-19: BC's Restart Plan – next steps to move BC through the ...

Above all, we know that we will need to be patient and flexible as these new standards are rolled out. How we do and what we learn in Phase 2 will inform future phases and modifications, so adaptability is going to be key.

Thank you again to our community for providing your thoughts and feedback during this time — we appreciate you all and are here to support you.