On Thursday, November 19th the BC Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry enacted new province- wide measures in a bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19. The new measures are in effect from November 19, 2020 midnight until December 07, 2020 midnight.
Face masks are now mandatory in all public spaces, which include shared office space, hallways, elevators, and stores etc. The only exception to this new measure is specific to individuals who cannot put on or remove their own masks.
We are entering a difficult phase in the worldwide pandemic as our northern hemisphere enters the winter months. We had a bit of reprieve in BC with the warmer summer months. The fact is that we are in the middle of a pandemic and that has not changed. It is essential to ensure that the minimum recommended safe zone of physical distance (2 meters/6 feet) is adhered to for clients, colleagues, employees, and ourselves. We must continue to pre-screen clients if we make the cautious decision to have an in-office session and continue to practise appropriate handwashing. Once we are in our private office space and if we can provide all the above, a therapist, potentially may decide with the client to remove their face masks. I would suggest that the guiding principle in this situation is if the clinical benefits outweigh the risks.
As I shared in previous message care of others includes clients, employees, colleagues, and my people, being my family members. Care of self involves me, my physical and psychological comfort level in providing therapy as a relational therapist while balancing the ethics of my profession. The PHO has specified that we must have safety plans in place.
The new measures and what that entails are found in detail on the following two government sites. I would encourage you to familiarize yourselves with the information.
- British Columbia Government Website https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/covid-19-provincial-support/restrictions
- WorkSafeBC https://www.worksafebc.com/en/about-us/covid-19-updates/health-and-safety/mandatory-masks-in-workplaces
An excellent resource for information is also found at the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) http://www.bccdc.ca/health-professionals/clinical-resources
Please know that you are not alone. If you have questions, concerns, or would like a conversation you can reach me or any of your board members by emailing us at:
Take good care of you.
PhD, RMFT President BCAMFT