COVID-19 Testing and Isolation Protocols
Your Chamber is working closely with local health services and the Sea to Sky Division of Family Practice to bring you the most up-to-date information. With the ongoing changing environment responding to COVID-19 and the Omicron variant, below are important updates (current as of Jan 27, 2022) for employers to consider.
Update on COVID-19 Testing Protocols in Whistler - January 27, 2022
Your Chamber is working closely with local health services and the Sea to Sky Division of Family Practice to bring you the most up-to-date information. Changes to protocols will be communicated and updated on our website as information is available.
With the ongoing changing environment responding to COVID-19 and the Omicron variant, below are important updates (current as of Jan 27, 2022) for employers to consider.
Testing and Isolation Protocols
If a vaccinated employee is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or any signs of illness, they should stay home from work and isolate until their symptoms are gone or at least 5 days from the onset of the symptoms. There is no need to get a rapid or PCR test to confirm if they are positive, nor is a negative test needed to return to work, following isolation protocols. Unvaccinated employees should seek out testing, and will likely be referred for a PCR rather than a rapid test.
Employers are asked to direct any concerned employees – regardless of symptoms or previous infection with COVID-19 to theThriveBC assessment tool. This will ensure individuals are screened for possible testing using the most current available criteria. We ask that you not direct employees to simply seek out testing at local testing sites, as it’s quite possible they will not qualify to be tested.
Employees should be advised that if they suffer from significant medical conditions then they should actively seek out testing. Because employees may not have disclosed their full health status to their employer, we encourage language which states that those who are otherwise generally in good health need not seek out testing at this time. Those with underlying serious medical conditions should consult their medical team, and follow the guidelines laid out on the BCCDC website.
Rapid Test Kits
For those eligible employers that wish to implement in-house testing for asymptomatic employees, you can access rapid test kits and programs through Safe Screen B.C. or can directly purchase one of the ten approved Health Canada self test kits. The BC Chamber is in the process of confirming the Health Canada approved distributors – details coming.
For employers with employees isolating due to COVID-19 symptoms, let staff know they can reach out to the Whistler Community Services Society for additional support services, including isolation guidelines/assistance and food bank services.
Financial Supports Available for Businesses
Latest News and Updates
- Jan 19, 2022 – Indigenous Tourism BC in partnership with the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture, and Sport is delivering a $3 Million Dollar Fund. Apply Here | Read Press Release
- Jan 19, 2022 – The COVID-19 Closure Relief Fund has been extended and relief support has been doubled for eligible businesses. Apply Here | Read Press Release
- Jan 12, 2022 – The Government of Canada has extended repayment deadline for Canada Emergency Business Account to 2023. Read Press Release
- Jan 14, 2022 – The Provincial Government has opened applications for the new Tourism Accomodation and Commercial Recreation Relief Fund. Apply Here | Read Press Release
Wage & Rent Support
Canada Recovery Hiring Program – This program has been extended until May 7, 2022, for eligible employers with current revenue losses above 10 per cent and increasing the subsidy rate to 50 per cent.
Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program – Provides support through wage and rent subsidies to, for example, hotels, tour operators, travel agencies, and restaurants, with a subsidy rate of up to 75 per cent.
Hardest-Hit Business Recovery Program – Provides support through wage and rent subsidies to other businesses that have faced deep losses, with a subsidy rate of up to 50%.
Local Lockdown Program – This program has been temporarily expanded to include employers subject to capacity-limiting restrictions of 50 per cent or more; and reduce the current-month revenue decline threshold requirement to 25 per cent.
Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit – This program has been temporarily expanded to include workers in regions where provincial or territorial governments have introduced capacity-limiting restrictions of 50 per cent or more.
WorkBC Wage Subsidy Program – The WorkBC Wage Subsidy Program covers a part of employee wages so employers can hire job seekers and provide work opportunities.
Tourism HR Canada – Propel – Student Work Placement Program – Qualifying employers are provided with a wage subsidy of up to $7,500 for each student hired through the program.
Loans & Grants
COVID Closure Relief Grant – The COVID-19 Closure Relief Grant will provide fully funded grants to businesses that had to close due to the December 22, 2021 Provincial Health Officer (PHO) orders.
To be eligible, businesses must meet the following requirements:
- The business has been in operation and registered in B.C. as of February 1, 2021
- The business had to fully close to comply with the December 22, 2021 Provincial Health Officer orders
View eligibility requirements here.
Jobs and Growth Fund – Supports organizations in future-proofing their business, building resiliency and preparing for growth. Eligible businesses with fewer than 500 full time employees may qualify for interest-free repayable contributions for up to 50% of eligible costs.
Tourism Relief Fund – Tourism businesses may qualify for financial assistance, including:
- Non-repayable contributions of up to $100,000, for up to 50% of eligible costs
- Repayable contributions of up to $500,000, for up to 75% of eligible costs
Major Festivals and Events Support Intiative – Major, recurring festivals and events with annual revenues exceeding $10 million may qualify for financial assistance
Recovery Fund for Arts, Culture, Heritage and Sport Sectors – Provides $300 million over two years to support arts, culture heritage, and sport organizations. More information and an application portal will be available soon.
Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availablity Program – Supports the hardest hit businesses, including those in sectors like tourism and hospitality, hotels, arts and entertainment.
- Offers 100% government-guaranteed loans ranging from $25,000 to $1 million
- Loans are low-interest and include terms of up to ten years
- There is up to a 12-month postponement on principal repayments at the start of the loan
HASCAP is available at participating financial institutions until March 31, 2022.
Covid-19 Safety Plans
On January 7, 2022, B.C.’s provincial health officer verbally announced an order requiring employers to re-activate their COVID-19 safety plans. This new order replaces the previous requirement for employers to have communicable disease prevention plans and does not have an expiration date.
The order requires COVID-19 safety plans to incorporate some expanded and new controls:
New COVID-19 Safety Plan Order Details
The official order is now available. To view it, click here.
The order requires COVID-19 safety plans to incorporate some expanded and new controls, including:
- Indoor common area protocols to prevent workers from congregating
- face coverings used in indoor common areas
- lunch area/break room protocols
- to avoid the workplace
- when symptoms present in the workplace
- work from home options
- self-isolation and monitoring
- handwashing and sanitizing
- cleaning and sanitizing
- ventilation and air circulation
Your new and improved COVID-19 safety plan must be communicated and maintained by:
- Posting a copy of the COVID-19 safety plan on your website for staff, visitors and the public to view
- Providing a copy of the COVID-19 safety plan to a health officer or WorkSafeBC officer upon request
- Reviewing and updating the plan periodically to ensure adequate prevention measures are being followed, according to WorkSafeBC requirements and the current COVID-19 public health situation
Safety Plan Resources and Services
go2HR is pleased to be offering a complimentary COVID-19 Safety Plan Review Service to B.C.’s tourism and hospitality employers. To take advantage of this service, please register here.
They have also compiled an extensive list of COVID-19 Resources to help you review and update your workplace COVID-19 controls to reflect the new PHO order, including templates, signage and information. To explore the links, please click here.
If you have questions about these COVID-19 control measures or how to update your COVID-19 safety plan, please contact them via phone: 604-633-9787 or email: email@example.com. Their health and safety experts are available to assist, and we look forward to supporting you and your team.
All employers must demonstrate that they can operate safely, and are required under the Workers Compensation Act to ensure the safety of their employees at work.
WorkSafeBC will be there to help all local businesses, non-profits and organizations, and will work with employers and workers through educational materials, consultation, and workplace inspections to help you restart safely.
Employers are required to:
- Review Health and Safety Guidelines, best practices and other resources from WorkSafeBC
- Adapt these materials into appropriate COVID-19 Safe Plans for your workplace
Sectors that have operated during the pandemic may need to update their COVID-19 Safe Plans to fit with updated Health and Safety Guidelines, best practices and resources.
Posters and Infographics to Share
COVID-19 Vaccination & Policies in the Workplace
Learn how to outline your vaccine policy properly and understand employer considerations in balancing safety with employee privacy and other legal obligations.
Navigating vaccination policies in the workplace is a hot topic for employers and employees. With BC recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, many employers are considering mandating vaccinations among staff. In this webinar, we are joined by Gale Kim, Associate at Mackoff Mohamed Barristers & Solicitors, and Bryin Munroe, Director of People & Culture at the Westin Resort & Spa, to discuss the implications of introducing vaccine policies in the workplace and how they relate to employer and employee rights.
Proof of Vaccination Resources for Businesses
By order of the Provincial Health Officer (PHO), proof of full vaccination (two shots) has been extended to access some events, services and businesses. The BC Vaccine passport is now in effect until June 30, 2022.
You can download the BC Vaccine Card Verifier app from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. The app is free to download and works on smartphones and tablets.
- The Government of British Columbia has created an information hub with a number of resources to assist those businesses who need to start verifying proof of vaccination.
- Download print-ready posters provided by the Province to help your businesses implement the BC Proof of Vaccination Program here.
- Download a Whistler Chamber Proof of Vaccination Tip Sheet for local businesses.
Messaging guidance for tourism businesses created by Destination BC is available here
Safe Screen BC – Rapid Testing Kits for Businesses
Safe Screen B.C. has been developed in partnership with the Ministry of Health and the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) to help businesses across the province access rapid antigen tests and set up onsite rapid COVID-19 workplace screening programs for asymptomatic employees, in support of B.C.’s Rapid Point of Care Testing Strategy.
Safe Screen B.C. provides businesses with the toolkits, resources and guidance needed to access rapid antigen tests and set up onsite rapid COVID-19 workplace screening programs for employees and staff only.
View the Safe Screen BC program overview here.
BC’s Restart Plan
The BC Restart Plan takes a phased approach to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19. Each phase provides guidance for individuals and businesses. Everyone is free to go at their own pace as we move between phases, as long as they follow the guidance and orders of the Provincial Health Officer. Businesses and organizations may not follow the same timelines for reopening and expanding interactions.
The BC Chamber of Commerce has launched resource guides to support small businesses as they navigate toward economic recovery as laid out in the Restart Plan. The guides address workforce planning, operational challenges and the next steps of pandemic recovery, among other topics. Access the Mainland | Southwest Region Resource Guide that encompasses Whistler and the Sea-to-Sky corridor.
Workplaces will transition from a COVID-19 Safety Plan to a Communicable Disease Plan.
Business Reopening Resources
Here are some key resources to help businesses in the reopening phase:
Key steps to safely operating your business or organization and reducing covid-19 transmission – from BC Small Business Roundtable
We will continue to provide the Whistler Business community with the necessary resources and updates as we move towards our ‘new normal’.
Industry Specific Resources
Employer resources from the BC Restaurant and Food Services Association (BCRFA)
Recovery Playbook from the Retail Council of Canada
BC’s Economic Recovery Plan
BC’s Economic Recovery Plan – Stronger BC, is focused on building better healthcare, supporting people and families, helping BC businesses and building stronger communities.
Stronger BC is helping B.C. businesses hire and grow in a range of different industries. Their plan helps businesses, adapt and grow through initiatives like helping businesses connect to customers online, and delivering grants to businesses that have lost revenue because of the pandemic. Find a range of Stronger BC resources for businesses here.
Health & Wellness + HR
Mental Health Resources
- Workplace Mental Health Mini-Guide: Mental Health Commission of Canada
- BC COVID-19 Mental Health Network: email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Free counselling and support with Wellness Together Canada
- Connect with an outreach worker: Whistler Community Services Society
- A toolkit for mental health in uncertain times: Sea to Sky Healing Project
- Mental health and substance use support: Sea to Sky Safety Net
- Government of Canada takes action on COVID-19 (Government of Canada)
- Quarantine Conflict Resolution Service (MediateBC)
- Keeping your employees safe (Canadian Federation of Independent Business)
- Work Sharing Brochure for Employers (Service Canada)
- HR advice: Responding to COVID-19 in the Workplace (go2HR)
- What Employers Need to Know About Temporary Layoffs (Small Business BC)
Whistler’s Doors Open Directory
Whistler’s Doors Open Directory from Tourism Whistler provides information for locals or visitors planning ahead. The directory provides up-to-date information on what is open in Whistler.
Guidelines for a Safe Restart
Whistler’s guidelines for a safe restart from the RMOW cover COVID-19 business best practices including core workplace guidelines and best practices for different sectors.
Mayor’s Video Updates
Stay up-to-date with the latest news from the Resort Municipality of Whistler, with Mayor Jack Crompton’s regular video updates.
Webinars & Virtual Events
Click on the videos below to browse the category playlist and find videos about the topics your need support with.
COVID-19 Business Support
CEO's Weekly Update for Whistler Biz
Advocacy in Action
Stay up-to-date on the rapidly evolving situation, by frequently checking provincial, national and international websites:
These excellent resources from Canadian organisations will keep you informed, and will help to make business easier for you:
Pulse Check #7 Results: Businesses Optimistic Despite ChallengesJuly 29th, 2021 For the final Covid-19 Pulse Check Survey, the Whistler Chamber and BC Chamber have partnered to collect feedback from the Whistler business community on their experiences as we work...
BC Minister Ravi Kahlon Meets with the Whistler ChamberJuly 7th, 2021 On June 15th, BC Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery, and Innovation Ravi Kahlon joined the Whistler Resort Partners, hosted by the Whistler Chamber, for a meeting to discuss the challenges facing...
June Advocacy in Action SummaryJuly 7, 2021 The last few weeks have seen a flurry of activity for businesses in Whistler. As we progress through the BC Restart plan, the easing of restrictions means visitors have returned to enjoy the charm of our Resort Municipality....