BC Ambulances, such as the ones at the 100 Mile House ambulance station, are one of the reasons vehicle repair shops have to stay open. (Max Winkelman - 100 Mile Free Press)

Vehicle repair shop considered an essential service

‘We’re staying open to service BC Ambulance and anybody else, of course’

Vehicle repair shops can find themselves on the list of essential services, says the owner of Central GM in 100 Mile House Tom Bachynski.

“We’re staying open to service BC Ambulance and anybody else, of course, that needs transportation repair or sale.”

Bachynski had a conversation with BC Ambulance last week, at which point BC Ambulance suggested they were considering them to be an essential service.

“If their vehicles need servicing, we have to be available for them.”

They have an ambulance in the repair facility about twice a week, according to Bachynski.

“They have a lot of vehicles and we service a lot of their outlying areas as well. It’s not just 100 Mile ambulances that we service.”

The whole situation is uncharted territory, says Bachynski, adding that he’s not quite sure what to make of the whole thing.

“It’s certainly not going to be enough business to keep me afloat but we’re going to do our best to service whoever needs help to get repairs done. I don’t know how it affects my insurance if it affects my insurance at all. I just have to make sure that I keep the staff that I have here safe and we just need to make sure we have all the safeguards in place that they can be as safe as possible and reduce exposure.”

When it comes to mandated closures, Canadian Automobile Dealers Association President and CEO on Monday, March 23, urged government to make an exception for dealers that are willing and able to stay open.

“Ambulances, police vehicles, fire trucks, food and medical supply trucks, grocery home delivery vans – and most importantly the personal vehicles being used to get to work by the personnel on the front lines of this crisis such as doctors, nurses, supermarket and logistics workers, need to be kept running. Those of our dealer members that are able to provide this essential service while also ensuring the safety of their personnel and their customers, should be able to do so on a voluntary basis.”

When asked if all vehicle repair shops are considered essential services, the B.C. Government’s VOVID-19 Joint Information Centre (the government’s newly-created media contact point) acknowledged that the healthcare system does not exist in a vacuum and needs support from every part of society and every part of of the economy and those essential services must continue. They have not yet decided whether vehicle repair shops are considered essential services across the board, according to the Centre.

“COVID-19 response is a new and ever-changing situation and as we all adapt, so will the definition of the essential services that keep society running,” they said in an email. “Emergency Management BC is working closely with the provincial health officer and Ministry of Health to provide additional steps to clarify the conditions under which important work can continue – both in terms of healthcare and the wider economy.”

Government is calling on employers, unions and WorkSafeBC to develop the protocols under the supervision of Dr. Bonnie Henry to get those currently working the economy the confidence they are doing so safely, according to the Centre.

“We are all in this together.”

Bachynski says he hopes everybody stays safe and self-isolates.


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