B.C.’s relaxed COVID-19 restrictions bring businesses glimmer of hope

Capacity limits gone, dancing back on. B.C.'s COVID-19 restrictions measures are changing substantially Thursday. Liza Yuzda has the details.

As of Thursday, B.C. will lift all indoor personal gathering restrictions and most capacity restrictions, and for some the announcement relieves a major financial burden.

Jeff Guignard the executive director of BC’s Alliance of Beverage Licenses says the industry is very excited about the loosened restrictions, and slowly but surely getting back to normal.

“This is the day we feel like we’ve been working towards for the past two years, finally getting a place where we can remove restrictions and folks can get back to work and we can bring our staff back.”

On Tuesday, Dr. Bonnie Henry announced movie theatres, gyms, swimming pools, restaurants, bars, nightclubs will no longer have capacity limits. Meaning many places will see major growth in traffic, and a boost in revenue.

Restrictions have also been lifted on what is allowed inside of bars, restaurants and other venues.

“The good news for us today is you can get back to mingling. You don’t have to have group sizes of only six people. You don’t have to maintain two meters distance and you can dance, people haven’t been able to dance legally in British Columbia for two years,” Henry said.

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Masks and proof of vaccination will still be required.

“It’s gonna feel frustrating for some folks that they still have to wear a mask and have their vaccine passport checked, but Dr. Henry was clear she’s going to be reviewing that next month, so we’ll see where that ends up,” said Guignard.

Bridgitte Anderson, President and CEO of the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, says the lifted restrictions will hopefully stimulate economic recovery.

“Lifting COVID-19-related business restrictions this week is great news for businesses and our continued economic recovery. As we transition to the next stage of pandemic management, we are hopeful that today’s announcement will allow businesses to fully re-open and stay open,” Anderson said in a statement.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses have been forced to permanently shut their doors due to financial hardship, however, Anderson is hopeful easing restrictions will prevent other businesses from having to do the same.

“All businesses are dealing with significant issues such as labour shortages, inflation, supply chain disruptions, and increased debt taken on due to the pandemic. The economic effects of the pandemic will remain with us for some time and need a concerted effort by the government to support businesses and chart a path to higher long-term growth and economic prosperity.”

On a larger scale, live events like hockey games will also now be able to operate at full capacity, meaning more fans can cheer on the Vancouver Canucks in person.

Michael Doyle, Canucks President says the announcement is great news for fans who are not seasons tickets holders, allowing more people to take in an occasional game.

“Our tickets are back on sale for 100 per cent of capacity, and it’s really great to have that back. We are really excited to have both fans back to cheer on the team and I know the players are really excited about having fans back in the building.”

An outline of the revised restrictions can be found here.

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