On Tuesday, Health officials announced that B.C.’s nightclubs and stand-alone banquet halls will close immediately in helping to end the spread of COVID-19. Also, the sale of alcohol in all bars, pubs, and restaurants should stop at 10 p.m.
Also, unless they are providing full meal service, venues should also close at 11 p.m., and not serve alcohol. Dr. Bonnie Henry, the provincial health officer, also announced other measures like music or other background sounds must not be louder than the volume of normal conversation.
Henry said the venues have been a source of significant risk and proved challenging for contact tracing. She said it was time for everyone to cut back on their social interactions. Henry added that changes were intended to reduce the risk in certain environments and should not be taken lightly. She also noted that these venues are still the source of significant risk to everybody in British Columbia despite weeks of effort by public health teams. Henry confirmed that though it, in turn, makes it more challenging to protect those who are more vulnerable to serious illness; they adjusted the orders to make it a safer environment for people.
Health officials announced on Tuesday that 429 new cases of COVID-19 and two more deaths had been recorded since Friday.
Henry said the new restrictions are meant to remove “late-night temptation” that has led to people mixing and transmitting the virus in certain venues as the province’s caseload has climbed. She said people should find their balance to get us through the next few months to a year that we are going to be living with COVID-19. Besides, Sukh Mann, the president of the B.C. Banquet Association, stated that Canadians have to have the economy, education system and health system working.
Sukh stated that he was shocked by Tuesday’s announcement of 429 new cases over the weekend. He stated that he is eager to know how many came from banquet halls. He wondered, “How do we pay our property tax, how do we pay our rent? We all have mortgages. We all have to pay our employees. We have to pay our taxes. Where are we going to get this money from?
We don’t know. We have to go to our government now and ask them, ‘so, you’re shutting us down now, what are you going to do for us?'”
Last month, the group asked the province to increase its capacity to 50%, saying at that time, they had pressure from patrons wanting to break COVID-19 rules and were losing thousands of dollars in revenue while trying to operate safely.
Before Henry’s announcement, B.C.’s largest health authority stated that during the COVID-19 pandemic, it would support additional restrictions, and even closures, at some of the province’s “problematic venues.” Dr. Elizabeth Brodkin, Fraser Health’s interim chief medical officer, added that the steady upsurge in COVID-19 cases is making health officials deliberate where transmission is happening and if more restrictions are needed.