November 11, 2020
Dear ABLE BC members and industry colleagues,
On November 7, BC’s Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry issued new orders for the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley. The order is restricted to these two regions.
The order came into force Saturday, November 7 at 10:00 pm and will continue through to Monday, November 23, 2020 at 12:00 pm. The order impacts social gatherings, group physical activities, and workplace safety.
This order has confused and frustrated thousands of hospitality businesses. We know that the order also immediately confused patrons, leading to cancelled reservations and millions of dollars of lost revenue across BC’s hospitality industry.
Since Saturday, ABLE BC and our industry partners have been working directly with the Provincial Health Officer and her senior staff to get clarity for you and your patrons and have the order amended.
The Provincial Health Officer has released the following new documents for the Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health Regions:
- Public Order: COVID-19 Prevention Regional Measures
- Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health: general guidance
- Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health: business guidance
- Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health: restaurant guidance [note: this includes bars and pubs]
- Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health: gyms, fitness centres, and recreational centres guidance
The original website detailing Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley restrictions has also been updated.
The new public order and guidance offers the following important clarifications for food and liquor primaries:
- People can meet up at a liquor or food primary with a maximum of six at a table. The rules for food and liquor primarieshave not changed under the temporary order, but it is very important that they are diligently followed.
- Liquor and food primaries can have more than 50 people in the building, as long as all protocols are followed with physical distancing, six people per table, and employee protocols in place.
- Until November 23, there are no receptions permitted following weddings and funerals, including any planned receptions at liquor and food primaries. Any such receptions planned for the next two weeks should be cancelled.
- Liquor and food primaries can otherwise stay open and must diligently follow their COVID-19 safety plans. WorkSafeBC will be increasing inspections and liquor and food primaries will be asked to close if they are found to not be following their COVID safety plan and not complying with PHO orders.
- Patrons have been advised by government that they should only visit a restaurant with “people in your household or core bubble” with a maximum of six people at a table. Reservations for private parties that include more than one household or core bubble must be cancelled.
- A core bubble is defined as “the people you spend the most time with and are physically close to. For some people, their core bubble is their immediate household. For others, their core bubble may contain a partner, relative, friend or co-parent who lives in a different household.”
- We know the ‘core bubble’ remains confusing for patrons and operators. It is not your responsibility to make a decision on who is in a patron’s core bubble – trust patrons to do the right thing and cancel their reservations if needed.
Important reminder: daily workplace screening
Daily business and worksite COVID-19 employee screenings should already be included in every business’s existing COVID-19 safety plan; this could be done by someone asking employees as they arrive at the workplace, through an app. online form, or through signage and messaging at the entrance to the workplace.
This new order is a reminder for employers and employees to take the screening seriously and answer honestly, but it does not require in-person assessment of every employee as they arrive at work.
You should also remind employees to monitor themselves daily and to always stay home if they have COVID-19 symptoms. Continue to ensure that all workers and customers maintain appropriate physical distance and wear masks when appropriate.
Message from ABLE BC:
Dr. Henry has been clear that this order is not aimed at our industry and noted that our industry’s current safety protocols are working.
Although the new order is not aimed at our industry, ABLE BC shares your frustration that the order has undermined public confidence in BC’s hospitality industry.
Since Saturday, ABLE BC’s Executive Director Jeff Guignard has been working with our industry partners in several media interviews to state clearly that it remains safe to visit your local pubs and bars.
We are also working to ensure that government is saying positive things to restore public confidence.
We know how hard you’re working to keep your staff and patrons safe. We know you’re frustrated to see additional public health restrictions, especially when you’ve worked so hard to make ends meet over the past several months. But over the next two weeks especially, we must all work relentlessly to ensure safely protocols are followed.
Please keep up your great work. Rest assured the team at ABLE BC will continue to do everything we can to help our industry get through this.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any other questions or concerns: email@example.com.