With British Columbians doing a good job of flattening the curve, the slow restart of businesses and organizations in Phase II of the province’s Restart Plan is set to begin soon! While this doesn’t mean that everything will reopen overnight and life will go back to what it was a few months ago, it does mean that more of the services and shops we know and love will be getting back to business in an adapted way.
What’s set to open in Downtown Victoria
More rigorous regulations and enhanced protocols for operation are in place to ensure that restarting the local economy won’t also result in an increase of the number of COVID-19 cases in our community. Every business will need to implement their own plans and policies to adhere to the new standards.
But the good news is that, if they do, they are able to reopen to customers and clients safely. As of Tuesday, May 19th, (after the Victoria Day long weekend), more of these types of businesses and services will be setting their sights on reopening:
- Medically related services (dentists, physiotherapists, registered massage therapists, chiropractors, physical therapists, speech therapists, in-person counselling, and other similar services)
- Retail stores, hair salons, barbers, and other personal service operators
- Restaurants, cafes, and pubs can reopen to dine-in customers at reduced capacity
- Museums, art galleries, and libraries
- Office-based worksites
- Recreation and sports facilities
- Child care services
- Parks, beaches, and outdoor spaces
As these types of facilities and businesses put plans in place to reopen safely, confirming with your favourite store, learning centre, or service provider that they are opening (and asking any questions you may have about what that looks like) is still a good idea. Some businesses will need to have new protocols in place to ensure the safety of customers and employees. Be sure to double-check with the business before making a booking or heading out to an appointment.
“Open spaces, fewer faces” this Victoria Day
Before this change comes into effect, though, another long weekend is up ahead. Maylong weekend usually means the start of summer around these parts, but this year’s Victoria Day will be a bit different because of COVID-19. Although travel outside of our community is not encouraged, which likely means the annual camping trip with friends or family will have to be postponed for another few weeks, we are still able and encouraged to get outside. With many local parks and trails opening for day use as of Thursday, May 14th, planning to soak up some sunshine in our own stunning surroundings is a great way to spend the long weekend.
Fill this May long weekend with open spaces and few faces. (Turtle faces don’t count.)
Prepare for the long weekend with downtown treats to eat
Grab coffee from Shatterbox or 2% Jazz, then get a takeout sandwich from Roast for lunch and a savoury pie from Victoria Pie Company or maybe some authentic Italian pasta from La Pasta for dinner. These and the rest of the Victoria Public Market’s fine vendors offer a one-stop-shop for a wide range of delicious meals for takeout, delivery, or to cook at home.
For those with a sweet tooth, there are open options too. Try ice cream from Milkcow Cafe, something decadent from QV Cafe Bakery, or reward yourself after the downtown adventure with delivery from Empire Donuts.
Wondering what other businesses are open in Downtown Victoria as we transition into Phase II? Visit our new Open for Business directory and use the tabs to find what you need.
Parks and (virtual) parades
Once you’ve got caffeine, carbs, and some sugary goodness sorted, take the scenic route home. Go for a hike or bike ride this weekend and explore a local park you haven’t been to before or revisit an old favourite. However, keep in mind that playground equipment, picnic shelters, other close contact facilities, and some smaller parks will remain closed for the time being. Be sure to bring your own hand sanitizer or “clean kit” with you, along with snacks and water, and follow instructions found on park signage. Water fountains and some public washroom facilities will also remain closed.
For more on the status of city parks and outdoor recreation facilities, read the City of Victoria’s news update. For up-to-date details on regional parks, visit the Capital Regional District’s COVID-19 information page. And for details on which provincial parks are open and what you need to know before you head out, visit BC Parks.
This year’s annual Victoria Day parade has also had to adjust course. The Greater Victoria Festival Society has organized a livestream instead, which can be viewed on Victoria Day at 9:00 a.m. on CHEK TV. It will be the first time in the event’s 122 year history that the usual fanfare is cancelled.
Watch this year’s (virtual) Victoria Day parade celebration at 9am on Monday, livestreaming via CHEK TV.
Slow and steady
Whichever way you’re spending Maylong, be sure to still follow physical distancing and safety guidelines, even if you decide to meet up with a select few local friends or family members in person for the first time in a long time. It’s important to stay mindful of the people we live, work, and interact with, particularly as more of us are out and about.
What the remainder of summer will look like depends on how well we manage restarting at this phase. Continuing to be responsible towards one another as we slowly and steadily reopen Victoria’s wonderful downtown core will help our community bounce back quicker. Stay close to home, plan a fun outing or two in one of the city’s amazing open spaces this long weekend, and enjoy your Victoria Day!