Restaurants with COVID-19 plan in place remain safe place to gather and eat, says B.C.’s top doctor

Restaurants with COVID-19 plan in place remain safe place to gather and eat, says B.C.'s top doctor
WatchDuring Monday's briefing, B.C.'s top doctor singled out the province's restaurants. Dr. Bonnie Henry says there are no outbreaks associated with businesses maintaining strict measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Il Terrazzo, a restaurant in Victoria, has strict COVID-19 prevention plans in place, according to owner Shellie Gudgeon.

“We’ve sectioned our tables, which are all very private with windows. We have a dozen screens inside. And it creates a feeling of comfort for our customers,” Gudgeon said.

Restaurants safe place to gather and eat, according to BC’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. There are no reported cases contracted in restaurants with strict COVID-19 rules in place like cleaning and physical distancing, she said.

“We haven’t had outbreaks related to restaurants when the rules are followed. Small groups, keeping our distance, wearing masks.  Closing hours, we adjusted the hours because we found later in the evening when people were more drinking, less eating, they tended to flout the rules.  So we took measures to put things in place that made those environments safe,” Henry said at Monday’s news conference at the B.C. legislature.

At Frankie’s Modern Diner in Victoria on Tuesday, a few customers lingered over breakfast. Owner Frankie Naccarato was walking through the restaurant, keeping an eye to ensure everyone is safe.

“It’s been a learning curve for everybody involved,” Naccarato said.

“Every day we learn a little big more about how to do things better and how to do things and keep people comfortable.”

The diner closed from March to May, like many restaurants in B.C., turning to take-out and delivery for survival. Re-opening meant fewer tables, ensuring staff and customers are socially distanced, and masks for everyone. But Naccarato is happy to still be open.

“This Thanksgiving, in particular, I actually gave thanks to the fact that we are still here, and doing well.”

Both restaurant owners are optimistic they’ll survive the pandemic through innovation and hard work. But an estimated 30 per cent of BC’s restaurants won’t, according to Ian Tostenson, president and CEO of BC Restaurant and Food Services Association.

“I think everyone knows now that particularly there is light at the end of the tunnel. But it’s going to be really tough between now and the springtime. Because we are going to miss Christmas parties and those kind of events.”

READ MORE: B.C. reports 717 new cases of COVID-19, including 16 new cases in Island Health

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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