Okanagan restaurant owners are scrambling to adapt to B.C.’s indoor dining restrictions that were announced last week.
“I think it’s been a pretty stressful week,” said Luigi Coccaro, Curious Cafe, Gather Restaurant and La Bussola’s owner.
“Like the Monday night when it happened, we were (thinking) the whole industry was probably not prepared.”
Many B.C. establishments have had to change their businesses to accommodate more outdoor seating, to mitigate some of the revenue that has been lost due to the health orders.
“We really transitioned immediately to what we can do to work with the restrictions, work with the outdoor space that we have,” said Coccaro.
“Which is a bit limited for most of our restaurants.”
Jared Lee, Co-Owner for Central Kitchen and Bar, said he understands the restrictions are not meant to intentionally hurt small-business owners and that they have to adapt like everyone else.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is much bigger than one business, and we understand that,” said Lee.
“Like at the end of the day, yes it’s unfortunate, but it’s one of those things that needs to be done. Our business is made to trust the professionals.”
Unfortunately, not all restaurant owners think the way Lee does. In Vancouver, a restaurant owner has vowed to defy the indoor dining restrictions — despite being served with an individual order to close.
On Monday, the B.C. Restaurant and Foodservices Association made a statement addressing some restaurants’ decisions to ignore public health orders.
“As an industry, we need to stand together. There is no place for this type of complete disregard for public safety and the rule of law,” said Ian Tostenson, BCRFA’s president and CEO.
“The actions of a few selfish, arrogant, and irresponsible restaurant owners do not in any way reflect the significant effort this industry has made to ensure public safety.”
The BCRFA is urging for the immediate closure, fining and business license revocation of any business that elects to defy health orders.
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