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British Columbia businesses devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic will still have to pay a scheduled increase in the minimum wage next month just as many are struggling to get back in operation.

Labour Minister Harry Bains says the province will push ahead with the planned minimum wage increase on June 1 to $14.60 per hour from $13.85 an hour.

He says the lowest paid workers need money in their pockets to help them support their livelihoods and contribute more dollars to local businesses.

Bains says B.C.’s economic restart plan launched this week after steady declines in COVID-19 cases aims to restore business confidence for employees, employers and customers during the ongoing pandemic.

He says the easing of some health restrictions allows for the full reopening of restaurants, hair salons, dental offices and other personal services, but employers and employees must follow WorkSafeBC guidelines to prevent a second wave of the novel coronavirus.

Bains says businesses can expect random inspections from officials who will be looking to enforce physical distancing requirements and the public posting of safety plans.

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