Indoor dining resumes in B.C. as COVID-19 restrictions slowly lift

Indoor dining resumes in B.C. as COVID-19 restrictions slowly lift
WatchThere may not be another city in the province, or even the country, celebrating the return to indoor dining as much as Victoria. That's because Victoria has the highest number of restaurants per capita in Canada. And it's hard to tell who is happier, the restaurant owners and staff, or their customers.

Indoor dining has resumed in British Columbia after provincial restrictions ended at midnight.

Jam Cafe was among the businesses that decided to resume indoor dining.

And when popular downtown Victoria breakfast spot opened their doors at 8 a.m. Tuesday, customers showed up.

“Everyone has been in a great mood so far. So everyone is grateful to come back inside, especially today since the weather is not great,” said owner Jim Walmsley.

The news of a return to indoor dining is just in time for many in the industry, according to Jeff Guignard, executive director, Alliance of Beverage Licensees.

“My members are texting thanks, and one person told me they cried when they heard the announcement today,” he said.

Forced to close for ten weeks in 2020, and again in March for another six weeks, it’s estimated 80 per cent of B.C.’s restaurants are losing money.

But now there’s hope.

“Now that people have a path forward they can start to work on their business again,” Guignard said. “Opposed to worrying what protocols are going to come around restricting their business.

Penny Farthing Pub owner Matt MacNeil said there were times during the restrictions when he wasn’t sure he would see this day.

“Like everyone else, felt very emotional. for our company, everyone on our team,” MacNeil said. “For our entire industry. It’s been another tough six weeks after last year’s ten weeks of closures.”

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READ MORE: Three new COVID cases reported on Vancouver Island, less than 300 province-wide

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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