Indoor dining in B.C. set to make comeback this week

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — B.C. restaurants are getting ready to open their doors nearly two months after indoor dining was banned for a second time because of COVID-19.

Premier John Horgan has said the circuit breaker was ending after the May long weekend and the B.C. Restaurant and Foodservice Association has been telling members they can open indoor dining Tuesday morning, but there is hesitancy with mixed messaging.

The province hasn’t officially announced that indoor dining can resume and Health Minister Adrian Dix has tweeted that until the province’s restart plan is revealed Tuesday afternoon, nothing is changing. This, even though the ban on indoor dining is set to expire before the announcement.

Inez Cook, co-founder and owner of Salmon n’ Bannock Bistro in Vancouver, is among those waiting for the official green light, adding advance notice would be nice.

“It’s frustrating for us as business owners. I will say that the restrictions … had been quite confusing for many people for the longest time. And I’m just hoping we get some clear directive,” she says.

“We’re being extremely cautious … We had some expensive lessons that we learned over the past several months. So this time, we’re being extremely cautious. And if the restrictions are lifted, and we’re able to recommence with dine-in, we’re going to start small, and I think the customers are going to understand that.”

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Earlier this year, the province gave restaurants less than a day’s notice before implementing indoor restrictions, which resulted in significant food waste.

Since restaurants have only been able to operate outdoors and through take-out, Cook says the bistro isn’t able to meet the minimum order for suppliers to deliver ingredients.

“So now … we’re definitely going to start small … with the menu,” she says. “For dine-in, we usually have a lot of daily features and a lot of other things that we like to share with our guests. We’ve completely cancelled most of that.”

Cook says she’ll open indoor dining as soon as the province gives the go-ahead.

Circuit breaker restrictions have been in effect since March 29.

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