Province strengthens enforcement of corporate COVID security plans

With seven locations and nearly 400 employees, Red Barn Market has been relatively isolated from the impacts of the COVID-19 Omicron variant. But owner Russ Benwell says he’s prepared for the worst.

“Looking at maybe the hours of operation, you know, maybe a little bit of reduced service in the short term,” Benwell said, adding that he will be able to move employees to various locations as a contingency plan in order to keep his groceries. functioning.

With the increase in cases, today the province sent a message to the BC business community.

“I am putting an order in place, requiring COVID security plans for all businesses in BC,” said Dr Henry, BC provincial health officer.

At today’s press conference, Henry mentioned measures such as “space saving” and “glass barriers” among the improved protocols that will be implemented by the province in coordination with WorkSafeBC. Benwell and many other business owners already have a COVID security plan in place.

Meanwhile, at Fireside Grill in Saanich, the Omicron variant has taken its toll on staff.

“Typically makes between 20% and 30% of our workforce at any given time,” said Tom Petropoulos, Managing Partner of Fireside Grill. “It has really changed the way we do business over the past three weeks. “

Petropoulos says they have limited guests, hours of operation, and improved airflow, all to help limit the spread of Omicron and alleviate uncertainty for their staff. But the property believes the province could do more to help.

“The deployment of rapid tests has been, in my opinion, quite poor,” said Petropoulos. “If we had quick tests we would test our staff once they walked through the door … We had a staff member who wasn’t feeling well and the earliest he could get tested was Monday, that’s … three days is a long time. “

Elsewhere, The Victoria Pub Company, which has four restaurants in greater Victoria, told CHEK News that Omicron is adding another layer to its staff shortage issues. The newly implemented shift from a seven to five day isolation period, however, has helped.

So, for now, businesses are learning how to deal with another hard blow.

“We just have to weather the storm,” Benwell said.

“Things are happening, you have to adapt and make changes… move forward,” added Petropoulos.