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'Don't abandon' B.C. restaurants amid COVID-19 pandemic, industry leader says

Citynews 1130 Vancouver

Last Updated Mar 12, 2020 at 1:04 pm PDT

(Courtsesy Pexels: Creative Vix)

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – With two major cruise lines suspending services for the next two months, there are some concerns about how local businesses could potentially see negative effects.

Ian Tostenson, the CEO of the B.C. Restaurant and Food Services Association, says he hasn’t heard of a significant decrease in Vancouver restaurant businesses yet, but he thinks hotels could potentially see a bigger hit.

“We can rely on a domestic audience more. [Hotels] rely on tourism right now. I think that’s a really big problem in the short term. The restaurant owner needs to have some assurance that he’s got some business coming in. If they’ve got business, they can make it work,” he said.

He says people don’t have to spend a lot of money — but should consider going out, because Vancouver businesses have good health standards.

“In terms of food safety, sanitation, in terms of food supply, there’s not a better place with our standards in British Columbia. One of the strongest messages that I have is get out and don’t abandon that,” he said.

Earlier this month, B.C. Finance Minister Carole James said the government built a forecast allowance for any outside forces that’s going to have an impact on British Columbia’s economy.