Coronavirus: Okanagan pub owners question new liquor sale restrictions – Okanagan

As the number of COVID-19 cases climbed back up in B.C., provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry ordered all nightclubs and banquet halls to shut their doors once again.

In addition, all liquor sales in bars, pubs and restaurants must stop at 10 p.m. and the establishments must close by 11 p.m. unless full meal service is being provided.

“Despite weeks of effort for public health teams, these venues are still the source for significant risk for people in British Columbia,” said Dr. Henry.

Read more:
Nightclubs, banquet halls in B.C. ordered closed again as COVID-19 cases rise

Local bar owner Dave Willoughby, owner of Doc Willoughby’s Pub, said the restrictions will only exacerbate the problem of young people contracting — and spreading — COVID-19.

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“I think it just encourages the young people to hit the liquor stores and move the party indoors privately where there’s no contact tracing and regulations,” said Willoughby.

Willoughby says his business has already taken a massive hit from the new health orders.

“Our sales have pretty much dropped in half since these rules have been put in place.”

The bar owner says he sent a letter to local MLAs that rails against the new liquor policies, signed by various stakeholders in the industry.

“They are going to forward it to their leaders and obviously hopeful they pick up the torch in support of this initiative,” said Willoughby.

Read more:
Hospitality industry warns many B.C. nightclubs and banquet halls might not survive new shutdown

Still, another local pub owner takes a more moderate stance on the issue.

“Ultimately, it’s not great for business, obviously it’s unfortunate especially with our expansion right now,” Jared Lee, co-owner of Central Kitchen & Bar, told Global News on Saturday.

“The vast majority of our sales are in the evening, but we understand. It’s one of those things where it’s unprecedented. I’m not a policy maker, I’m just trying to abide by the health orders.”

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One other restriction implemented for establishments is for music and background sounds such as televisions to be no louder than the volume of normal conversations. The idea is to prevent patrons from having to yell to have a conversation.

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Back-to-school during COVID-19

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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