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Another muted Super Bowl Sunday has B.C. bars and restaurants looking toward eased restrictions

A Shark Club server carries a tray of drinks during the Super Bowl on Sunday. Global News

With another Super Bowl Sunday muted by COVID-19, B.C. hospitality operators are hopeful the province is on the eve of eased health restrictions.

The biggest Sunday game of the year is usually the biggest event of the year for Shark Club in downtown Vancouver.

“We like to start planning this two to three months in advance, just ordering decorations, staffing levels, prizing. We want to get as much ready as possible for the big day,” General Manager Grant Slatten told Global News.

Read more: ‘Good news’: B.C. tourism sector upbeat at prospect of loosened border restrictions

Bars and restaurants are hoping this is the last major event under the current gatherings and events order, originally set to expire this week. On Tuesday, provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry is scheduled to make an announcement about what comes next.

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Many industries asking for more clarity as COVID-19 restrictions expected to ease – Feb 11, 2022

The industry is hoping for a clear timeline.

“It’s not just lifting the health protocols. We need time to plan, we need time to find staff, we need time to bring in proper products, we need time to set up our establishments. It could take a week or two or more,” Jeff Guignard, executive director of the Alliance of Beverage Licensees of B.C., said.

“There are some places right now, even under the restrictions, that have got a labour shortage and  can’t get adequate staff … so the sooner we find out the better.”

The next big event is St. Patrick’s Day, on March 17, and bars are anxious to know more so they can start planning.

Read more: COVID-19: B.C. reports 17 deaths, fewest cases in hospital since mid-January

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“Not knowing how full our room is going to be, what that walk-in traffic is, yes, it poses some challenges. But we hope for the best and it’s going to be a fun day, regardless,” Slatten said.

On Friday, British Columbia reported another 17 COVID-19-related deaths, for a total of 324 fatalities since the start of 2022.

The number of cases in hospital fell to 846 and have been declining steadily since peaking at 1,035 on Feb. 1.

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