(Pxhere)

B.C. restaurant group warns members to follow COVID rules – or shut down

Spike in B.C. COVID-19 cases leads to worries for food services industry

The association that represents food services and restaurants in B.C. is asking its members to adhere to COVID-19 regulations as case numbers spiked over the weekend.

B.C. has reported an average of just over 30 cases for the past five days, with Saturday numbers reaching 51 new cases.

Ian Tostenson, president and CEO of the B.C. Restaurant and Foodservices Association, said restaurants need to follow best practices if they want the $14-billion industry to survive.

“It gets into consumer confidence… they go ‘maybe I should stay in,’”Tostenson said of the recent spike in COVID-19 cases, some of which have been connected to restaurants.

“For some people, who don’t want to take this seriously, they shouldn’t be in the business.”

“We have to accept responsibility as an industry because we should understand what the protocols are.”

B.C.’s top doctor announced a tightening of regulations for the restaurant sector, including banning liquor self-service and minimizing “table hopping” inside restaurants and similar establishments. Dr. Bonnie Henry’s new order also emphasizes patrons being led to their tables, and only being allowed to go to the bathroom.

Tostenson described the COVID-19 restaurant experience as flying on an airplane, where you largely stay in your seat, with no wandering around the plane allowed.

“With restaurants, you get in, go to your table, enjoy your meal and get out, no visiting or loitering or going to see your neighbour.”

READ MORE: WorkSafeBC reports more than 300 violations of COVID-19 safety rules

Tostenson acknowledged the restaurant industry has not been immune to the complacency that other British Columbians have sunk into as numbers began to trend down in June.

“As the numbers went down, all of us started thinking ‘wow, looking pretty good. It must be going away… not realizing that it’s still there, it’s still transmittable. It’s still a formidable disease.”

But while restauranteurs need to take responsibility for following protocols, Tostenson said patrons should familiarize themselves with the rules as well.

“It’s two metres between tables, or a barrier… [but consumers] don’t realize that,” he said.

READ MORE: B.C.’s top doc tightens rules at restaurants, nightclubs as COVID-19 cases increase

Tostenson said he’s not particularly concerned about the lack of capacity maximums in restaurants. When dine-in service was allowed to initially reopen in May, there was a 50 per cent capacity limit – something that many establishments said made in financially unfeasible to stay open. Currently, there is no set capacity for restaurants as long as two metres of distance is maintained and there are no more than six people at a table.

If people are seeing more than six people at tables? “That’s wrong. If they’re doing it inadvertently, let’s get it corrected. If they’re doing because they’re just doing it, they shouldn’t be operating.”

And while masks are encouraged, they’re not required, Tostenson said.

“It’s confusing,” he said. “We’re going to make a very strong suggestion that we, as an industry, make masks necessary so we’re sending more of a consistent message.”

Tostenson said that while he’s heard concerns that staff at restaurants don’t want to wear masks, his response has been simple: “Who cares. It’s bigger than that.”

– With files from Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nicole Charlwood represents the Green Party in the campaign for Nelson-Creston. Photo submitted
Nicole Charlwood represents the Green Party in the campaign for Nelson-Creston. Photo submitted
Election 2020: Nicole Charlwood

The first of four interviews with the Nelson-Creston candidates

Ski touring operators are changing how they plan to operate due to the pandemic. Photo: Curtis Cunningham photo
With winter looming, West Kootenay ski tour operators say they’ve adapted

COVID-19 has meant businesses are changing how the upcoming season will run

The crash caused a pole to be dragged down across the highway. File photo
The crash caused a pole to be dragged down across the highway. File photo
RCMP looking for driver who walked away from accident on Highway 3A

The crash dragged down a power pole across the highway

Rob Louie has formed a non-profit organization he says will assist band members in legal disputes with their councils. Photo: Submitted
UPDATED: Indigenous legal organization created to help band members keep councils accountable

Rob Louie has created Band Members Alliance and Advocacy Association of Canada

In this photo provided by Shannon Kiss, smoke from the CalWood Fire billows, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, as seen from Gunbarrel, Colo. (Shannon Kiss via AP)
‘First guys out:’ Western Canadian air tanker fleet busy despite drop in wildfires

CEO believes wildfires have become more dangerous in recent years as people live closer to where they start

Police confirm human remains were found in a recycling bin in Vancouver on Oct. 18, 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Human remains found in recycling bin floating near Vancouver beach

Police asking nearby residents to see if their recycling bin has gone missing

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson visits a North Vancouver daycare to announce his party’s election promises for child care, Oct. 9, 2020. (B.C. Liberal Party video)
B.C. parties pitch costly child care programs in pandemic

B.C. Liberals say they’ll deliver on NDP’s $10-a-day promise for lower-income families

A B.C. man decided to create a website to help people find family doctors accepting patients. Because Victoria is considered high-demand, clinic openings can’t be posted publicly. (Unsplash)
Vancouver Island man starts website that connects B.C. residents with doctors

Nanaimo man started project to help people find family physicians accepting patients

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Voting station at Tzeachten Hall in the riding of Chilliwack-Kent on the first day of advance voting in the provincial election on Oct. 15, 2020. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. VOTES 2020: 380,000 British Columbians head to polls in first 4 days of advance voting

Some of highest voter turnout so far has been seen on Vancouver Island and in Shuswap

Fort St. John councillor Trevor Bolin (B.C. Conservative Party)
BC Conservatives leader fights back after BC Liberals leak 2018 workplace harassment case

Sexual harassment case was connected to employee being terminated, WorkSafeBC found

Grant and Barbara Howse, in quarantine in Invermere. Mike Turner photo
Denied entry into U.S., Invermere couple still forced to quarantine for 2 weeks

The rules around crossing the U.S. border led to a bizarre situation for an Invermere couple

Most Read