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Banquet halls in B.C. want the government to shut them down amidst COVID-19

Citynews 1130 Vancouver

Last Updated Aug 22, 2020 at 2:02 pm PDT

(Courtesy Riverside Banquet Halls)

Banquet halls in B.C are asking the government to pull the plug on their businesses amidst COVID-19

BC Banquet Hall Association President says they’re losing money due to the 50 person rule for large events

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Banquet halls in B.C. are pleading with the government to shut them down amidst COVID-19.

Sukh Mann, BC Banquet Hall Association President, says they’re in a difficult position between the stringent government rules and customers asking banquet halls to bend social distancing rules.

Mann adds they’re also losing tens of thousands of dollars in revenue due to the 50 person rule for large events.

“We’re fighting with the client and we’re fighting with the government. And we’re making nothing. We don’t have a choice. We’re not being treated fairly. How do we recover or recuperate our losses? We don’t make any money out of that. We’re just basically doing community favours,” he says.

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Mann explains some people who blame banquet hall workers are not getting the full picture.

“Let’s put it this way, the wedding happens at the house. On Monday, a tent gets put up for 50 people and they put one up at the neighbour’s house for another 50 people, so you got 100,” he says.

“So now these people are at their houses, what happens there? They’re all hanging out with each other they’re drinking, eating together, dancing together, partying together … then the next day they come to the hall, but they’re forced to sit down on the table with their family members that live in the same household with them. They can’t interact with anybody else. They can’t dance, they can’t walk to the bar and get a drink. What makes them want to have a party at my venue?”

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According to Mann, the association has asked for help from the provincial government for a specific plan that pertains to banquet halls — not restaurants.

“We have been given no guidelines on how to operate except to follow restaurant guidelines, and in many ways, that is been very challenging,” Mann says in a release.

Earlier this month, B.C.’s Health Minister Adrian Dix said the government would be cracking down and checking on banquet halls to make sure health protocols are followed.