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B.C. bars and restaurants call for clarity around new COVID-19 restrictions

Click to play video 'B.C. bar and restaurant owners say mandatory 10 p.m. shutdown rule is seriously hurting business' B.C. bar and restaurant owners say mandatory 10 p.m. shutdown rule is seriously hurting business
B.C. bar and restaurant owners say mandatory 10 p.m. shutdown rule is seriously hurting business

Two groups representing B.C.’s hospitality industry say they are seeking clarity after provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry ordered an end to on-premise liquor sales at bars and restaurants after 10 p.m.

A joint statement from BC’s Alliance of Beverage Licensees and the BC Restaurants and Foodservices Association said Henry issued a verbal order last week, but the province’s hospitality industry has yet to see a written document outlining the details of the order.

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
Hospitality industry warns many B.C. nightclubs and banquet halls might not survive new shutdown

Last Tuesday, Henry ordered the closure of nightclubs and banquet halls. In addition, all liquor sales in all bars, pubs and restaurants must cease by 10 p.m., and 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

British Columbia Restaurant and Foodservices Association CEO Ian Tostenson said the verbal order led to “an immediate 30 per cent decline in revenue.”

Jeff Guignard with the Alliance of Beverage Licencees of B.C. said in an industry with such tight margins, losing even an hour at the end of the night can push a business from the black into the red.

Click to play video 'Dr. Bonnie Henry orders bars, nightclubs and banquet halls to shut down again' Dr. Bonnie Henry orders bars, nightclubs and banquet halls to shut down again
Dr. Bonnie Henry orders bars, nightclubs and banquet halls to shut down again

The lack of details around the order is only making matters worse, he said.

“It’s bad enough that these orders were issued without industry consultation,” he said.

“It’s now been over a week since Dr. Henry issued verbal orders that have had devastating financial consequences for B.C.’s hospitality industry, and we still don’t know the exact details of how to comply. It’s an impossible situation that is putting the financial viability of our industry at risk,” he said.

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— With files from Amy Judd, John Hua and Simon Little