New Guidance for Retail Food and Grocery Stores, Industrial Camps, and the Silviculture Sector

Retail Food and Grocery Stores

The British Columbia Centre for Disease Control and Ministry of Health have issued guidance for the safe operation of retail food and grocery stores during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Importantly, the guidance clarifies that the Order prohibiting mass gatherings of 50 or more people does not apply to grocery stores, but that “the spirit of the order with respect to physical distancing should be followed.”

The guidance goes on to outline “key steps” that store operators can take to ensure physical distancing and proper hygiene are maintained, including specific direction on:

  • Physical distancing: line controls, managing flow of shoppers in the store, and checkout procedures;
  • Sanitation and hygiene: hand washing and glove usage, cleaning schedules, cash/credit card handling, grocery cart and basket use, and availability of disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizers;
  • Maximum number of people in store: calculating based on store size and monitoring number of people entering and exiting the store; and
  • Advice for staff and customers who are sick: self-isolating and accessing provincial health information resources.

The full guidance document can be found here.

Industrial Camps

The Provincial Health Officer has also issued an Order respecting Industrial Camps, which applies to employers in the agricultural, aquacultural, forestry and resource sectors, and/or those who provide accommodation in an industrial camp, including in a hotel.

Recognizing that there is greater risk of transmission of COVID-19 amongst employees who live in “congregate accommodation” or work closely on a worksite, the Order provides that employers must develop and implement a COVID-19 infection prevention and control protocol.

To oversee the implementation of the Order, the Provincial Health Officer has delegated authority to specified members of the British Columbia Public Service to act as Provincial Infection Prevention and Control Officers.

The Order can be found here.

The Delegation, including the list of specified Public Service members, can be found here.

Silviculture Sector

The British Columbia Centre for Disease Control and Ministry of Health have also issued guidance for employees and employers working in the silviculture sector, in addition to that already provided in relation to industrial camps. The detailed guidance document covers sector-specific issues, including transportation to the worksite, as well as physical distancing strategies while working in crews.

The guidance document can be found here.

For more information on this article, please contact Sari Wiens, Ilan BurkesNicole Toye or Jessica Fairbairn.

Note to our Readers: Information regarding COVID-19 is rapidly evolving. We are working to bring you up-to-date articles as the legal issues develop and to keep our previous posts updated. Given that the legal issues related to COVID-19 are constantly changing, if you are looking for legal advice or are dealing with an issue in relation to COVID-19, please contact your Harris lawyer or a member of our COVID-19 response team: Sari Wiens, Ilan BurkesNicole Toye or Jessica Fairbairn.

To read our most recent articles and other updates on COVID-19, visit our COVID-19 Updates page.