“We are on the verge of major bankruptcies”: Restaurants and pubs grapple with new BC restrictions

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VANCOUVER – New measures introduced last Thursday by Dr Bonnie Henry aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19 by limiting social interactions appear to be having the desired effect, to the detriment of businesses. At a press conference on Nov. 19, Henry ordered residents of British Columbia to limit social gatherings to their immediate homes or a small pandemic bubble for those living alone.

“This applies in our homes, vacation rentals and in the community and in public places, including those with fewer than 50 people in controlled environments,” said Henry.

She made no specific mention of restaurants or pubs, and Ian Tostenson of the BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association said there was some confusion over who can dine at the restaurant.

“We haven’t seen the latest health order, it wasn’t written last week, so as far as we’re concerned, we tell people to go to restaurants but to go to restaurants in the mind hanging out with people you trust in a little bubble, ”Tostenson said.

Tostenson estimates that over the past 10 days, restaurants have lost about 30 to 40 percent of their sales in the event of the pandemic, as those who were confused by orders chose to stay home.

Henry’s Order was an extension of an earlier regional order that only applied in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. In previous press conferences, Henry has made it clear that while dining out is encouraged, people should only do so with their household.

On Monday, Henry made it clear again that she wanted British Columbians to spend the next two weeks socializing only in person with other people in their household, or a bubble of one or two designated for those who live alone . This applies to restaurants.

The restrictions are also hitting bars and pubs hard. Jeff Guignard of the Alliance of Beverage Licensees estimates that business has fallen by 50% from pandemic levels.

“So you have people who are at 25% of their level in 2019 and it’s just not sustainable. We are currently on the verge of major bankruptcies, ”he said.

The restrictions are scheduled until December 7.

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