WorkSafeBC can now shut down businesses for 10 days due to COVID-19 transmission

Global's Keith Baldrey on B.C.'s new targeted approach to shutting down businesses where there is transmission of COVID-19

In an effort to help stop COVID-19 transmission in workplaces around the province, WorkSafeBC inspectors have now been given new enforcement powers.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Thursday that she has expedited B.C.’s workplace order to allow WorkSafeBC inspectors, under the Public Health Act, to close a workplace for at least 10 days to limit the spread of the virus in that location.

When three or more workers have COVID-19 at a workplace that is determined to be a result of transmission in that workplace, Henry said that is when WorkSafeBC inspectors can shut that business down for a length of time.

In the case of larger companies, it might just be one location or one team that needs to isolate, Henry explained.

The new enforcement powers will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. Monday.

Workplaces continue to drive transmission, she said Thursday.

“They are one of the most common sources of transmission in our province and it is widely across many different sectors.”

When a closure is ordered, WorkSafeBC can now serve the closure notice and help monitor the workplace and implement the closure plan.

Henry said the names of businesses ordered to close will be posted online along with their reopening date.

British Columbia’s COVID-19 surge continued to shatter records Thursday, as the province reported 1,293 new cases and two new deaths.

It brought the seven-day rolling average for new cases over 1,000 for the first time during the pandemic.

Read more:
No dramatic change in hospitalization by age or COVID-19 variant: Henry

The number of cases in the Lower Mainland continues to soar, with 448 new cases in the Vancouver Coastal Health region and 645 in Fraser Health. Sixty-nine cases were on Vancouver Island, 80 were in the Interior Health region, and 51 were in the Northern Health region.

-with files from Simon Little

More to come.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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