Extending the ban on indoor dining for the next month is a necessary step in trying to curb the volume of COVID-19 infections in BC.
That’s according to Dr. Bonnie Henry.
Henry admits bars and restaurants have held up their end of the bargain, but certain factors forced her hand.
“It’s not that people were doing things wrong, there was a combination of people who were pushing the limits and not wanting to obey the rules to keep people safe in restaurants and the fact we have a variant that is more transmissible.”
“We were starting to see a rapid increase in the number of cases both in workers and in the hospitality and food and restaurant industry and in people who were interacting with them. We were starting to see transmission in social networks that were linked to restaurants and pubs and to events people were having against the rules. It was a combination of the indoor environment and the variants that are more transmissible.”
During her interview with Vista Radio, Henry responded to concerns the province is unfairly targeting the restaurant industry while allowing big-box stores to remain open.
She added the issues connected to places like Wal-Mart and Costco are not related to shoppers.
“We are not seeing transmission when people are lining up and spaced out in those transactional interactions. What we are seeing is transmission when we see groups of workers from those stores who are having lunch or carpooling together or getting together during break times when they don’t have enough space.”
Henry mentioned while the seven-day rolling average related to COVID-19 cases is starting to level off, the province isn’t in a place currently where restrictions can be eased.
When asked if the provincial health office is considering a lockdown and stay-at-home order similar to Ontario, Henry stated the balanced approach being taken in BC is still the best course of action.
“From the very beginning, we have said and continue to say that we need to manage our own pandemic. The situation that we have in BC is quite different when compared to our neighbors to the east, particularly from Ontario and we have always taken a balanced approach as much as we can. We’ve been monitoring the effects both with COVID but also with the impacts the public health measures that we are taking are having on people in our communities, businesses, and schools. We will continue to take that approach here.”
The province, in conjunction, with the BC Centre for Disease Control, issued a recent SPEAK survey to give residents the opportunity to submit their feedback on how they are holding up as well as what BC needs to do to recover from the pandemic.
A link can be found here.