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Coronavirus: Penticton soup kitchen closes doors due to safety concerns

Coronavirus: Penticton soup kitchen closes doors due to safety concerns

For 30 years, Penticton Soupateria has been serving lunches to the most vulnerable in Penticton, but as of Monday, its doors are shut.

“It was [for] the safety, the safety of the people coming to the kitchen and the safety of the senior volunteers,” said Greg Litwin, Soupateria’s public relations director.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Penticton cracks down on social-distancing rule breakers

Soupateria staff were worried about proper social distancing being practiced at the facility and they deemed the COVID-19 risk too great for their senior volunteers to work safely.

“A lot of people who came for lunch, we had the [ground] marked, but they didn’t follow the rules [of social distancing] all the time,” said Litwin.
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Litwin said about 80 per cent of their volunteers are above the age of 65.

“We were very worried, some of them [volunteers] are in their 80s, and if they were to contract the virus, they may die,” Litwin told Global News on Tuesday.

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Soupateria was serving over 100 meals a day when it decided to shut down.

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The soup kitchen is meeting with the City of Penticton, about the future of potential reopening in a month.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: City of Penticton launches economic recovery task force

“We agreed to close until the 13th of April,” said Litwin.

“We are hoping to get things in order and reopen on that date.”

Litwin says he hopes the city will assign bylaw officers to make sure the soup kitchen’s clients follow the proper social distancing protocols.

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Penticton, B.C., mayor on city closing facilities to slow spread of coronavirus
Penticton, B.C., mayor on city closing facilities to slow spread of coronavirus