BC health officials have announced a shift in capacity requirements for restaurants, bars and cafes amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Just over three weeks ago, BC began Phase Two of its reopening plan which meant that food vendors could resume dine-in service under new health and safety protocols.
At the initial onset of BC’s Restart Plan, the requirements were that establishments could not exceed 50 per cent of their standard capacity, which was subject to change with the COVID-19 landscape evolving.
During a press conference on June 12, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry unveiled the latest update to these capacity protocols.
“Instead of a blanket 50 per cent, we now are requiring that every restaurant, pub, or bar has to identify a number for their capacity that includes patios,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry.
Dr. Henry said these modifications will allow restaurants to operate with a clear, defined capacity moving forward.
The official order that has been posted to the WorkSafeBC website states “that you must determine the maximum number of patrons and staff that your premises can accommodate if they are standing or sitting two metres apart, document this maximum number in your safety plan, and monitor the number of patrons and staff present on your premises to ensure this maximum number is not exceeded.”
In addition, the order requires that a maximum of six patrons can be at each table, while a minimum of two metres remains “between patrons sitting at different tables, and between patrons from different parties sitting at a bar or counter.”
The updated order on WorkSafeBC’s website also states that for any establishment that normally collects information from patrons for reservations or seating, they must retain the contact information for one member of each party for 30 days in the event that there is a need for contact tracing.
“Following the provincial health officer’s order allowing licensees to increase their overall service capacities so long as they continue following mandates related to physical distancing and other guidelines, and other recent changes introduced by both our government and local governments…I trust the hospitality industry will be able to operate safely and responsibly moving forward,” said Attorney General David Eby.
“We know every day counts right now for these businesses as they continue to recover from the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
In the Island Health region, there are currently no active cases of COVID-19 and the Province of British Columbia has now gone six days without a death from the virus.