We know we’re not alone in our disappointment (and anxiety!) in the rising cases of COVID-19 in BC and much of Western Canada. This past Friday, BC’s Minister of Public Safety, Mike Farnworth, gave a statement announcing stricter enforcement against COVID-19 regulation violations— and while much of the warning was directed at people participating in parties and events, it’s essential that we understand how this impacts our businesses and the beauty industry as a whole.
Of course, of utmost concern is people’s safety, and as Farnworth says, “there is no excuse to disregard the responsibility we all share to keep each other safe in this pandemic.” He points out how long and hard most of us have worked and what we’ve sacrificed to flatten the curve — and that recent irresponsible actions are now threatening to undo our progress. Because of this, stricter enforcement will begin immediately. In fact, since Farnworth’s statement, over $8000 in violation tickets have been issued in Surrey alone, with more in Victoria and Richmond. Among those fined were businesses, including a restaurant and a sports facility.
What you need to know
“The province is enabling police and other enforcement officers to issue $2000 violation tickets to owners and organizers for contraventions of the provincial health officers orders on gatherings and events.”
While of course we hope that our community isn’t responsible for any of the events taking place, as personal service providers, people do need to gather in our places of work. Because of that fact, all of us need to fully understand and take heed of the warning.
“To be clear, just because your party has less than 50 people, that does not make it legal. You must follow all guidelines.”
So, what are the guidelines? Farnworth explicitly highlights the importance of keeping a list and contact info of anyone at a gathering. As we’ve recommended in the past, we suggest not taking walk-in appointments and keeping track of anyone that uses your services or enters your business. Further, having a comprehensive COVID-19 safety plan is mandatory. Need some guidance? View our guide here.
The government is not only enabling police to enforce these measures, but multiple ministries will help issue these tickets for an “all-hands-on-deck approach.” This means you can expect more frequent check-ins from police, community safety inspectors, and WorkSafe BC inspectors. If this sounds inconvenient, that’s because it’s meant to be: “It’s time to take a tougher stance, and people not complying need to know that they are risking more than their reputations now. […] I can assure you that the province will do everything we can to stop shameful practices and keep people safe.”
Besides the $2000 violation tickets for owners and organizers of events and gatherings in noncompliance, there are also $200 fines for “anyone actively encouraging large events or gatherings,” as well as “anyone refusing to follow the safe operating plans of businesses or anyone who engages in bullying or aggressive behaviour toward employees.”
Further, he encouraged anyone who notices regulations being violated to report the persons or establishment.
Most significantly for our industry and livelihoods, it was explicitly stated that the province will be “working with local governments to revoke business licenses where issues occur.”
Looking to the future
While the impact of a $2000 fine or a lost business license is clear, there are serious consequences to the reputation of our industry if we do not comply. As the Health Minister explains, our provincial and regional health officers have been working tirelessly to track the transmission of cases. If we don’t all work together to ensure the beauty industry is not part of the problem, there is no question that further restrictions or even shutdowns could happen.
As you know, at BeautyCouncil, we believe in the professionalism of our industry — and we have been so impressed by the way most of our community has adapted and stepped up to the occasion. While we know this has been incredibly difficult, let’s continue to ensure that we elevate our reputation as professionals, uphold our role in the wellness industry, and prove ourselves as the respectful, caring members of our communities that we are.
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