After more than 400 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in a four-day period across B.C., new restrictions on bars and restaurants have been put in place, while nightclubs and banquet halls have been closed entirely.
On September 8, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced that effective immediately, all liquor sales in bars and restaurants must end by 10 p.m. Unless restaurants continue to serve a full menu, they must now also close by 11 p.m., but regardless, liquor service must end by 10 p.m.
Dr. Henry has also ordered the immediate closure of all nightclubs and banquet halls.
Additionally, a public health order has been put in place to ensure all music and television volumes in bars and restaurants must be kept to below “normal conversation” levels, in effort to keep patrons and staff from needing to raise their voice in establishments.
While the new orders have come into place Tuesday, Dr. Henry says there will be a "grace period" over the next day or two, to allow establishments to adjust.
These new restrictions come after 429 new cases of the virus were identified in the province since September 4, bringing the total active cases to 1,386.
Dr. Henry said these growing cases have been largely fuelled by the use of alcohol at private parties, nightclubs and other similar environments. She said we are now seeing these cases spill over into “other parts of the community,” and the government has been using many contract tracing resources related to these exposures.
After restaurants, bars and nightclubs were ordered closed to in-house dining back on March 20 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they were allowed to reopen under certain measures in May, after new cases flattened out. Since late July, new cases have risen steadily, largely in the Lower Mainland. reported at several Kelowna restaurants and bars .
Three new exposure events were announced at Vancouver bars and clubs over the past few days.
Dr. Henry says they are working to find a balance that will allow British Columbians to live with COVID-19 over “the next few months to a year.”
With files from BIV, Castanet