Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry is touching on the province’s decision to move into Phase 3 of its Restart Plan.

In today’s update, she said this means more parts of our economy, such as the film industry, hotels, and spas can open with safety measures and precautions in place.

“Many businesses that have remained closed will also be reopening their offices as we transition in this phase. This has been a gradual increase and I continue to believe that is what we need to do.”

Dr. Henry said this is an exciting time in many ways because it shows that we’ve been able to find our balance in B.C.

“Our balance of being able to increase our contacts, measured and thoughtfully. As well as keeping our case numbers low and manageable. We know that as we have more contacts, as more stores, as more businesses, as more things open, as we travel more, we are going to have more cases.”

She said we can take confidence in knowing we have established clear foundations over the last few months for a safe path ahead.

“These are the foundations that will carry us forward for the remainder of the summer, into next year, to the time where we have an effective treatment or vaccine for COVID-19.”

As some communities may decide they are not yet ready to receive visitors, Dr. Henry said that we need to be respectful of that.

She adds that we must continue to stand by and support each other.

“Let’s do our part by staying 100 per cent committed to protecting our families, our communities and our province. And let’s do that as we have been, by being kind, being calm, and being safe.”

Meanwhile, the province recorded 19 new COVID-19 cases and one epidemiologically linked case.

One of the new cases was a public school teacher in the Fraser Health region, but Dr. Henry said “none of the students are exposed.”

No new cases were reported on Vancouver Island, with that total still at 131.

The total number of cases in B.C. now sits at 2,869, with 179 active and a recovery rate of 87 per cent.

Two new deaths were announced, with the death toll sitting at 173.

So far, over 183,000 COVID-19 tests have been conducted in the province.