The B-C Restaurant and Food Services Association President Ian Tostenson says he has been told that the ban on indoor dining at pubs and restaurants will be extended until sometime in May.
An official announcement is expected to be made tomorrow (Thursday).
The ban was part of the government’s “circuit-breaker” initiatives to slow the rate of increase in COVID-19 cases and was set to expire on Sunday (April 19th).
Tostenson believes this is the last time indoor dining will be paused in our province.
He told Vista Radio the circuit breaker restrictions announced at the end of March have proven costly.
“In the three weeks that we were closed is probably a 500-million dollar loss in sales but if we don’t collectively work with Dr. Henry (Bonnie) to get through the next four to five weeks then this will just be a pain for us.”
He added while the move to extend the ban on indoor dining until next month is a major blow, a recent meeting with Dr. Henry provided some hope.
“She said by June, almost every adult in British Columbia will be vaccinated and that will start the recovery so I think this will be the last time you and I will be talking about the industry again shutting down. I think this is it but we need to band together more than ever now and support local restaurants.”
“I think we start to see the recovery of the economy starting at the end of May beginning of June. It’s a race against the variants but it’s also the fact that the vaccines are coming very quickly now.”
Tostenson did mention transmission of the virus was starting to trickle in among restaurant workers – not so much in places like Prince George, but in higher impacted regions like the Lower Mainland.
“A lot of people she said (Dr, Henry) aren’t necessarily working and maybe living at home with their parents and the parents are ending up getting sick or we are seeing workers in general, not just restaurant workers living together like what happened at Whistler and then transmissions start.”
“What’s at play now is not the restaurant – it’s the people who work in restaurants, that have friends that don’t work in restaurants and we are seeing transmission now among staff or maybe people going into an enclosed area of the restaurant who maybe has COVID. We are seeing some incidents of that.”