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Nightclubs, banquet halls warn they cannot survive another COVID-19 shutdown

Click to play video: 'Hospitality industry warns many B.C. nightclubs and banquet halls might not survive new shutdown' Hospitality industry warns many B.C. nightclubs and banquet halls might not survive new shutdown
The Surrey Board of Trade is urging the B.C. government to revisit its decision to shut down nightclubs and banquet halls again. Grace Ke reports – Sep 9, 2020

B.C.’s hospitality industry is warning that many of the province’s nightclubs and banquet halls might not survive Tuesday’s order to shut down once again following the surge in COVID-19 cases.

“A few weeks ago on Granville Street, (in Vancouver), people couldn’t get into the bars as they were at their COVID capacity so they were partying on the street in the middle of a pandemic,” Jeff Guignard from B.C.’s Alliance of Beverage Licensees told Global News. “We knew if you continue that type of behaviour, further lockdowns are happening and that’s what Dr. Bonnie Henry did.”

Nightclubs and banquet halls across B.C. have now been shut down until further notice in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

In addition, all liquor sales in all bars, pubs and restaurants must cease by 10 p.m., and the establishments must close by 11 p.m. unless full meal service is still being provided.

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Read more: Nightclubs, banquet halls in B.C. ordered closed again as COVID-19 cases rise

The fear among the hospitality industry is that now people will move their parties and gatherings underground.

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“If you are in one of our establishments, we can monitor you,” Guignard said, adding that staff can remind patrons to observe the protocols in place.

“I feel we are going to be pushing this activity underground and people are going to be having more private parties and large gatherings where there is no one there doing contact tracing,” Guignard said.

Click to play video: 'Restaurants sound alarm over new government restrictions on alcohol sales' Restaurants sound alarm over new government restrictions on alcohol sales
Restaurants sound alarm over new government restrictions on alcohol sales – Sep 9, 2020

The Surrey Board of Trade told Global News jobs are at stake and more support is needed with this announcement.

“Without any additional government support in terms of wage subsidies, … all of the support is not in place for another shut down of business,” said Anita Huberman of the Surrey Board of Trade.

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The industry feels it has abided by the regulations and is getting penalized for reckless partygoers. Industry representatives say the focus should instead be on enforcement and education for young people.

“It is the time for all of us to cut back on our social interactions,” Henry said Tuesday. “It means having fewer contacts with other people, particularly people we don’t know.”

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