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Parks, camping, and tourism: Protocols for returning to operation

These protocols are for those responsible for health and safety at B.C. parks and campgrounds, as well as employers who provide tours and outdoor recreation activities such as kayaking, rafting, heli-skiing, and whale watching.

Employers may also benefit from reviewing other WorkSafeBC protocols if their workplace includes other work environments such as sports and recreation, office space, retail services, or food and drink services.

Employers must also ensure they are abiding by any orders, notices, or guidance issued by the provincial health officer, and the appropriate health authority, that are relevant to their workplace.

Developing a COVID-19 safety plan

Employers are required to develop a COVID-19 Safety Plan that outlines the policies, guidelines, and procedures they have put in place to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Employers must involve frontline workers, joint health and safety committees, and supervisors in identifying protocols for their workplace.

The COVID-19 Safety Plan follows the six steps outlined on COVID-19 and returning to safe operation. You can also refer to the COVID-19 Safety Plan OHS Guideline for information about developing a safety plan, including the level of detail required and use of supporting documentation.

Employers are not required to submit plans to WorkSafeBC for approval, but in accordance with the order of the provincial health officer, this plan must be posted at the worksite and on their website, if they have one. During a WorkSafeBC inspection, we will ask employers about the steps they have taken to protect their workers and to see their plan.

One part of developing your COVID-19 Safety Plan is identifying protocols that everyone at the workplace must follow to keep workers safe. We’ve provided industry-specific protocols below to consider as you develop the plan for your workplace.

These protocols are not a list of requirements; however, they should be considered and implemented to the extent that they address the risks your workplace. You may need to identify and implement additional protocols if the protocols suggested here do not sufficiently address the risk to your workers.

Understanding the risk

The virus that causes COVID-19 spreads in several ways, including through droplets when a person coughs or sneezes, and from touching a contaminated surface before touching the face. Higher risk situations require adequate protocols to address the risk.

  • The risk of person-to-person transmission is increased the closer you come to other people, the amount of time you spend near them, and the number of people you come near. Physical distancing measures help mitigate this risk.
  • The risk of surface transmission is increased when many people contact same surface, and when those contacts happen in short intervals of time. Effective cleaning and hygiene practices help mitigate this risk.

Selecting protocols for your workplace

Note that different protocols offer different protection. Wherever possible, use the protocols that offer the highest level of protection and add additional protocols as required.

HierarchyOfControlsFirst level protection (elimination): Limit the number of people in your workplace where possible by implementing work-from-home arrangements, establishing occupancy limits, rescheduling work tasks, or other means. Rearrange work spaces to ensure that workers are at least 2 m (6 ft) from co-workers, customers, and members of the public.

Second level protection (engineering controls): If you can’t always maintain physical distancing, install barriers such as plexiglass to separate people.

Third level protection (administrative controls): Establish rules and guidelines, such as cleaning protocols, telling workers to not share tools, or implementing one-way doors or walkways.

Fourth level protection (PPE): If the first three levels of protection aren’t enough to control the risk, consider the use of masks. Ensure masks are selected and cared for appropriately and that workers are using masks correctly.

Protocols for parks, camping, and tourism

  • Post signage to clearly communicate your policies on who can be at the workplace, which includes following the guidance of the provincial health officer and the BC Centre for Disease Control around self-isolation:
    • Anyone who has had symptoms of COVID-19 in the last 10 days must self-isolate at home.
    • Anyone under the direction of the provincial health officer to self-isolate must follow those instructions.
    • Anyone who has arrived from outside of Canada must self-isolate for 14 days and monitor for symptoms.
  • Review and coordinate roles and responsibilities with all contractors, suppliers and staff. Employers should develop procedures to ensure contractors are aware of and aligned with your health and safety program requirements, including relevant COVID-19 related protocols and are following protocols of their own.
  • For locations where parks staff are working from multi-ministry or regional offices, coordination is required to ensure plans align across locations.
  • Review staffing levels and adjust as needed to ensure enhanced cleaning of high-touch areas and enhanced staff presence to manage park visitors.
  • Establish and post occupancy limits for all areas to accommodate physical distancing of 2 metres between individuals or family groups/units. This may include offices, lunch rooms, break rooms, washrooms, and vehicles.
  • Limit or prohibit visitors to offices.
  • Ensure physical distancing can be maintained between workers, guests and the public throughout the workplace including reception areas, kiosks and rental shops. The configuration of some workplaces will not allow for physical distancing to be maintained – for example, the width of some reception areas will not ensure adequate distance. In these cases, consider other ways of maintaining distance, such as stanchions to indicate where guests should stand, or installing a physical barrier to reduce the risk of transmission.
  • Ensure guests are aware of policies and protocols before they arrive at your worksite. Send out information through regular marketing channels and social media about limitations, rules, limited facilities, and service to manage expectations during partial openings.
  • Implement hand hygiene policies and ensure they are communicated throughout the facility. Ensure handwashing or hand sanitizing stations are available throughout the facility.
  • Some customers will need to pay with cash. For customers using credit cards and loyalty cards, have the customers scan or tap their cards and handle the card readers themselves where possible. Establish hygiene practices that include washing or sanitizing hands after handling cash or cards handled by the public.
  • Provide signage and information regarding rules and process throughout facility including park, trails, beach, campground and general outdoor areas. Consider posting signage in other majority languages or provide pictograms.
  • Where appropriate to maintain distancing, consider implementing one-way walkways or marking off designated walking areas to manage the flow of people.
  • Develop a cleaning and disinfecting plan that includes high-touchpoint areas and surfaces including washrooms, change rooms, showers, vending machines, key pads, bank machines, shared computers and other office equipment, and POS locations, as well as common switches, door handles, pay phone or public access phones, indoor furnishings, and rental equipment.
  • Note that the provincial health officer’s order on gatherings and events applies to these worksites. Events, groups, tours, and gatherings must be limited to fewer than 50 people to comply with this order.
  • Develop emergency plans and staff support in events such as:
    • Medical emergencies, including providing first aid to the public and guests (consider vulnerable visitors)
    • Sudden overcrowding
    • Remote and capsize recoveries
  • Coordinate emergency plans with local emergency responders and put special consideration to the remote nature of many of these worksites.
  • Spaces such as interpretive centres, amphitheatres, nature houses, and indigenous cultural establishments must follow and maintain physical distancing measures, provide enhanced cleaning and abide by applicable orders such as the provincial health officer’s order on gatherings and events.
  • Ensure that any vending markets, including farmers markets, abide by an order issued by the provincial health officer around the management of these events.
  • On July 3, 2020, the BC Centre for Disease Control released Guidance for Owners and Operators of Public Outdoor Playground Equipment and Spray Parks.
  • On June 10, the office of the provincial health officer issued a revised order for Food Service Establishments and Liquor Services. This order provides a number of requirements for these establishments, including how occupancy limits must be calculated, table and seating configurations, the use and configuration of barriers, collecting and maintaining contact information from patrons, and the application of the 50-person maximum order on events.
  • Ensure there is sufficient staff to manage the volume of customers and associated line ups and food pick up areas.
  • Space out or limit the number of picnic tables to ensure adequate spacing between groups.
  • Any food and water provided by operators (e.g., tours, excursions) should be individually packaged and not shared.
  • Guests should not be involved in meal preparation.
  • Control access to all food supplies and minimize handling.
  • Refer to guidance retail services for additional protocols and guidance.
  • Be sure to consider occupancy calculations where relevant.
  • Control use of equipment to one group of users at a time and clean and disinfect between use.
  • Transportation of all kinds, including buses, shuttles, helicopters, ATVs, and boats, should be limited to essential use only. Note that Transport Canada has guidance, orders, and safety alerts in place for workers and activities under its jurisdiction (marine, air, and rail transportation).
  • Employers should assess the number of workers being transported or sharing vehicles at any given time and employ measures to ensure at least 2 metres of distance between workers is maintained.
  • Whenever possible, workers should travel alone in their vehicles. Employers must implement all the necessary safeguards related to working alone or in isolation to ensure the safety of these workers.
  • Measures that may be taken to ensure at least 2 metres of distance include the following:
    • Have workers sit one to a seat
    • Stagger riders to allow for maximum distance
    • Adjust the number of workers per trip and the overall number of trips needed to transport workers to a worksite
    • If possible, use larger vehicles or multiple vehicles
  • Track who drives which vehicles and minimize changes in teams or vehicle assignments. Consider creating consistency in crews of workers using vehicles together and performing shifts or work tasks together.
  • If it is not possible to ensure 2 metres of distance between workers in a vehicle through these measures, consider the use of barriers if applicable. Where barriers are not applicable, consider the use of masks.
  • Employers must also implement a process that allows for physical distancing when loading and unloading buses or other vehicles. Workers waiting for loading and unloading should maintain physical distancing while remaining safely away from traffic.
  • Employers should have handwashing facilities or sanitizing stations available to workers as they enter and exit the vehicle.
  • Employers must ensure that high contact surfaces within the vehicle are routinely cleaned and disinfected. These include seatbelts, headrests, door handles, steering wheels, and hand holds.
  • Incorporate end-of-shift vehicle wipe downs, include a method for tracking end of shift cleaning and provide workers with appropriate supplies, like soap and water, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant wipes.
  • Ensure that physical distancing can be maintained for bike valet or rental racks. Ensure adequate space is provided between bike racks, and manage how people access bikes at pick up and drop off. Ensure bikes, helmets, and locks are wiped down between users.
  • Consider creating cohorts of workers who work together and who do not interact with other cohorts. This will assist in reducing transmission throughout the workplace in the event that a staff member becomes ill.
  • Limit in-person meetings and other gatherings and hold any meetings in larger open spaces or outside if possible.
  • Establish hygiene practices that address the needs of the workplace that includes the requirement to wash or sanitize hands after coming into contact with public items.
  • Post cleaning procedures and worker expectations in all common spaces.
  • Before entering any shared space such as vehicle or office, wash hands or use hand sanitizer.
  • Clarify procedures to wipe down or disinfect shared office equipment before use.
  • Ensure staff have the support and strategies for dealing with visitors who may be unwilling or are unable to understand the approach to managing visitor volumes. This should include reviewing your violence risk assessment, policies and procedures, and training and reporting requirements under the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations for minimizing the risk of violence to workers.
  • For operators providing accommodation to staff, review the accommodation sector guidance for additional protocols.
  • First aid attendants should follow OFAA protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Refer to Lifesaving Society BC/Yukon Staff Resuscitation & First Aid Recommendations.

Instructors and guides

  • Employers should have COVID-19 related protocols for instructors and guides that includes the management of physical distance with guest and patrons. Refer to viaSport for guidance on game play and follow any related protocols to support non-contact sporting activities.
  • If possible keep the same group of guests together for sessions in order to minimize exposure.
  • Physical distance of at least 2 metres between each guest and instructor/guide should be maintained. Instructions and guiding should be conducted in a manner that avoids touching clients. Consider using verbal cues or technology to share instructional material and plans.
  • For activities involving direct contact, ensure that hand hygiene is practiced using an alcohol-based hand rub or handwashing before and after contact.
  • In situations where physical distancing cannot be maintained and workers have frequent contact with guests, consider use of non-surgical masks. Ensure workers understand proper use of masks.
  • First aid attendants should follow OFAA protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Facilities offering day camps, please review guidance for childcare and day camp operators.
  • Develop a cleaning and disinfecting plan that includes high touch point areas and surfaces including washrooms, change rooms, showers, vending machines, key pads, bank machines, shared computers and other office equipment, point-of-sale locations, as well as common switches, door handles, pay phone or public access phones, indoor furnishings, and rental equipment. Remove non-essential items (e.g., magazines, newspapers, toys) from common areas to facilitate cleaning.
  • Train staff on cleaning plan. Ensure adequate cleaning supplies are available, and that staff are the trained on the proper use of cleaning supplies. Workers performing cleaning tasks are not required to wear additional personal protective equipment (e.g., mask, face shield, gloves, and goggles) beyond that which would be normally worn. Develop checklists outlining protocols and frequency.
  • Limit number and placement of guests, minimize sharing of equipment and provide enhanced cleaning and disinfecting.
  • Note that most specific tourism activities will also benefit from plans developed by their industry associations to which they can refer for additional information. Employers are advised to ensure that these plans align with orders, notices, or guidance issued by the provincial health officer, and the appropriate health authority.
  • For operators providing accommodation to guests or staff, review the accommodation sector guidance for additional protocols.
  • See sports and recreation protocols for more information on pools and hot tubs. Operators are advised to follow guidance from their local authority around the operation of these facilities.
  • Remote operations should limit exposure to communities, being careful to avoid unnecessary interactions. Operators should stay abreast of any current precautions being taken in their region and respect the wishes of Indigenous leaders and communities.
  • Follow the recommendations of the First Nation Health Authority or local indigenous community when offering cultural wellness practices, including smudging, sweat lodge or pipe ceremonies.
  • Opportunities for handwashing or hand sanitizing should be provided every time a group stops for breaks, lunch, at camp, or at any other meal. Portable handwashing facilities or additional sanitizing options may need to be provided to ensure that appropriate hand hygiene and physical distancing is maintained.
  • Separate personal gear and minimize exposure. If lockers or drying rooms are provided, ensure adequate space between people and items.
  • For water-based recreational activities, ensure adequate distancing is maintained between guests wherever possible. If considering the use of masks, take into consideration any safety considerations that would be introduced by the use of masks in these environments, and be advised that non-medical masks may lose effectiveness if they become wet.

See the following links for additional information, guidance, or resources that may assist you in the development of your plan.

A PDF version of the industry protocols is available for printing.

For more information

The information on this page is based on current recommendations and may change. For the latest guidance, please see the health information from the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control and the latest news from the government of British Columbia.

If you have a question or concern

Workers and employers with questions or concerns about workplace exposure to COVID-19 can call WorkSafeBC’s Prevention Information Line at 604.276.3100 in the Lower Mainland (toll-free within B.C. at 1.888.621.SAFE). You’ll be able to speak to a prevention officer to get answers to your questions, and if required, a prevention officer will be assigned to assess the health and safety risk at your workplace.

Translated resources

Our key COVID-19 related resources are also available in Chinese (simplified), Chinese (traditional), French, Punjabi, Spanish, and Vietnamese.