FILE – A server wears a face mask while cleaning a table on the patio at an Earls restaurant, in Vancouver, on Tuesday, May 19, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

B.C. to shut down nightclubs, banquet halls; limit late-night alcohol sales at bars

Dr. Bonnie Henry said risk of going to nightclubs is too great

Nightclubs and stand-alone banquet halls are to shut down in B.C., following an amended order issued Tuesday (Sept. 8) by provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

Henry’s order will also ban alcohol sales in restaurants, bars and pubs after 10 p.m., as well as requiring them to close by 11 p.m. if they do not continue with full meal service. The volume of music or TVs at those establishments must also be no louder than conversation level so that patrons do not have to shout, and thus spit, in the establishment.

“It’s going to be a challenging time for those businesses,” Henry acknowledged, but said that the new orders were necessary for public safety.

“These restrictions will take away that late-night temptation people have, when we know there’s been mixing [of social groups] going on and transmission is happening in these venues.”

The new orders come after Henry told the public last week that it was time to cut back on social interactions, and as cases of COVID-19 continue to spike in B.C. The province recorded 429 new cases and two deaths over the Labour Day long weekend.

“I use orders as a last resort… we do it for things where we know it will make a difference.”

Henry said the closures come after it became clear that banquet halls and nightclubs became “high-risk places” that were unable to bring in enough safety measures to keep guests safe. However, she said that a curfew has not been considered.

The public health orders come into effect immediately, although Henry said there would be a grace period.

As to what qualifies as a nightclub, she said it would be those establishments whose “sole purpose is entertainment and liquor service.”

Henry said that she is not currently considering shutting down dine-in service at bars and restaurants altogether.

READ MORE: B.C. records 429 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths over Labour Day long weekend

READ MORE: What happens if B.C. re-enters a COVID lockdown? Psychologist says we’ll be OK


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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