Vancouver gastropub The Charlatan pleads with B.C. to reconsider liquor restrictions

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A Vancouver business owner is pleading with B.C.’s top doctor to reconsider serving restrictions on restaurants and bars.

As part of new measures meant to help slow the spread of COVID-19, these types of establishments must stop serving liquor by 10 p.m., and shut down by 11 p.m. unless they are providing full meal service.

However, the owner of The Charlatan gastropub on Commercial Drive says restricting operational times “is counter productive as well as extremely destructive to small business through out the province.”

The owner says they understand there’s a need to take further steps to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, but they believe there are other, more “beneficial and productive” ways to do so.

“We have supported your decisions since the beginning. We trust that you have all of our best interest at heart. We thank you for guiding us through a pandemic that is determined to spread through our population despite all of our sacrifices and best efforts,” the letter reads.

“We believe that keeping restaurants open until 12 am (sic) with food service as a requirement is the right way to limit the spread of COVID, while at the same time, balancing the financial needs of our small business community,” the owner suggests.

The business argues that closing early will lead to cuts and losses, and would result in more house parties as well as underground events, “most likely with no contact tracing and sanitation measures in place.”

The Charlatan has apparently already cut 12 shifts from its schedules, with more possible, accompanied by layoffs.

According to The Charlatan’s owner, most of these types of businesses earn a big chunk of their revenue between 10 p.m. and 12 p.m. They also say that on Tuesday, the first day Dr. Bonnie Henry’s new order was in effect, the gastropub apparently lost 50 per cent of its sales.

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“Its (sic) not as if at 11 pm (sic) the restaurant turns into a scene from The Great Gatsby,” the letter reads, adding employees at The Charlatan have done great work at ensuring people are following the rules.

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It says patrons who refuse to follow the rules aren’t allowed back.

In addition to the restricted hours for liquor sales, Henry announced on Tuesday that music and background sounds must not be louder than the volume of a normal conversation in those types of businesses. She has said that restaurants and bars have, generally, done well when it comes to following health and safety protocols.

Henry also ordered the closure of all banquet halls and nightclubs in B.C. as part of the directive.

For now, The Charlatan says if sales continue to take a hit, there’s a possibility it won’t be able to stay open.

“Please reconsider your decision and trust us to control our environments as if our lives and business depended on it because we on the front lines fully understand what is at stake.”

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