As B.C. COVID-19 cases climb, new rules coming for restaurants and bars

WatchWith more than 300 active COVID-19 cases now in B.C., new limits are coming to restaurants and bars in the province. April Lawrence reports.

At Victoria’s Drake Eatery, you don’t wait to be served at your table but rather head up to the bar to place your order.

But that may soon be coming to an end as B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry issues new safety orders for restaurants, bars, and nightclubs, including no self-service.

“We’re really hoping we don’t have to flip our business model upside down but if we have to, we’ll figure out a way to do that,” said Drake Eatery owner Mike Spence.

The changes, which also include no dance floors and required seating, come after videos started circulating of large gatherings at Vancouver’s Third Beach and in the Kelowna area where there is currently a COVID-19 outbreak.

“After observing footage from Kelowna, after observing footage of a drum circle, I have to say to British Columbians, come on, you’re better than that,” Premier John Horgan said at his Thursday press conference.

READ MORE: Complaints emerge over large gatherings at Vancouver, Langford beaches

With many restaurants already struggling to fill seats, the rise in cases in this province is creating more anxiety in the industry

“People start to question again whether they should go out again or not, so we’re really trying to be a model citizen if you will as an industry and do it right,” said Ian Tostenson, president and CEO of the BC Restaurant and Food Services Association.

Tostenson says the association welcomes the new regulations because anything that makes people feel safer is good for business.

They actually want to take the regulations a step further and will be recommending that all restaurant staff in B.C. wear masks, to make customers feel even safer if they choose to go out.

READ MORE: B.C. reports 30 new COVID-19 cases, 1 new case in Island Health

At the Drake, they’re still trying to figure out the specifics of the new safety order and what it means for their staff if they have to step out from behind the bar to start serving tables.

“A lot of logistics would have to change above and beyond the primary goal, which is to make sure our staff feel safe,” said Spence.


April LawrenceApril Lawrence

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