Jobsites are not mass gatherings: B.C. officials

DCN-JOC News Services | March 19, 2020

VICTORIA, B.C. — The province has confirmed that its order prohibiting mass gatherings of 50 people or more does not apply to construction sites.

The order was given by provincial health officer Bonnie Henry to slow the spread of the COVID-19 disease.

The Vancouver Regional Construction Association announced it had received clarification from the provincial health officer that construction sites are considered industrial sites, which are exempt.

“This afternoon, the provincial health officer clarified that the order does not apply to industrial sites,” said Fiona Famulak in a message to members. “We’ve received confirmation that her reference to industrial sites includes construction sites.”

Henry also suggested several precautions to reduce the risk of spreading the virus on industrial sites, including:

  • Reducing the number of people on site;
  • Practicing social distancing by maintaining two metres separation between workers; and
  • Not congregating in break areas and lunchrooms.

“For now, this means construction sites remain open with additional health and safety precautions in place,” said Famulak, adding that the association is planning to host a conference call in the coming days for members to share the steps they are taking to keep their workers safe during this pandemic.

The VRCA will be also be streamlining its COVID-19 communications. By launching a COVID-19 page in the advocacy section of its website to organize updates by date.

“Meantime, each of us can help slow the spread of this virus by washing our hands often, by practicing “social distancing” and by staying home when sick,” said Famulak, who directed those with questions on assessment or testing for COVID-19 to use the Ministry of Health self-assessment tool.