Observations of the David Lam campus neighbourhood during COVID-19
By Jerrison Oracion, Senior Columnist
The Lower Mainland is currently in Phase 3 of BC’s Restart Plan and things are kind of getting back to normal. While elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools will be open when school is back on September 8, most post-secondary institutions, including Douglas College, will not have in-person sessions and classes will be held online (likely through Zoom). It is also possible that the Other Press staff meetings will also happen through Zoom this year.
As the pandemic progresses, more activity has started to occur in the neighbourhood of the David Lam campus—more businesses and restaurants have reopened and eased safety precautions since the beginning of Phase 3. Most of the time that I have been in the neighbourhood, the atmosphere in the New West campus has also been like that.
The David Lam campus will still be open but student services (including financial aid), the registrar’s office, CEIT, counselling, and the library will not be offered in-person. Services will be available through the college’s website or via phone and email. In the library, there are a lot of digital resources available, including streaming services with access to documentaries and educational material.
Coquitlam Centre is not as busy as it used to be during this time considering the safety precautions in place to maintain social distancing. When going around the mall, you have to walk on the right side, and it is recommended that you wear a mask. You are even encouraged to wear a mask in the washroom!
Some food places are open for takeout while Ricky’s is open with reduced seating at 50 percent capacity. On the topic of food, most restaurants are open for dine-in, depending on whether the restaurant can operate safely with the safety precautions developed by WorkSafe BC and BC Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. For example, half of the Bubble World near the campus is used for dining in and the other half is converted into a waiting area for takeout—which has a lot of space and is comfortable. At Snowy Village, the entire dining area is empty to allow customers to have space while waiting to get their shaved ice and OZ Korean Cuisine (which is a few blocks away) is still open for takeout if you like to eat Korean fried chicken. In the case of C-Lovers Fish and Chips, the all-you-can-eat option is not available and meals are only available through takeout. Although Starbucks has safety precautions in place, it can get busy because of the warm weather outside. And they do “Happy Hour,” depending on the size of the location.
Parks near campus, including Town Centre Park, are open. They offer a large space and you can do a lot of active things as long as you participate in social distancing. Most of the David Lam campus neighbourhood is back in business, it seems.