PARKSVILLE (NEWS 1130) – WorkSafeBC has issued three orders to two B.C. businesses that failed to follow regulations meant to keep workers safe from contracting the coronavirus.
A Dairy Queen in Parksville and Prima Pizza in Summerland were the only businesses to receive orders following 1,594 inspections of restaurants, bars and cafes, documents obtained by NEWS 1130 through a Freedom of Information request show.
An inspector visited the Dairy Queen franchise on the East Island Highway on May 28. He reported seeing “nondescript red [duct] tape” on the ground meant to indicate where people should stand to practice physical distancing.
“Distancing in [redacted] was repeatedly observed not possible or followed,” the inspector wrote, also noting the restaurant didn’t have an employee enforcing a five-person maximum capacity.
The inspector also reported seeing a “narrow” plexiglass barrier at the counter and hand cleaner being used by workers.
WorkSafeBC issued two orders to the restaurant.
In the first order, the agency ordered Dairy Queen to properly train its new and young employees on COVID-19 safety protocols – which the agency says it had failed to do.
The second order called on the fast-food restaurant to ensure two-metre physical distancing is made possible “by training and provision of personal protective equipment.”
In a statement provided by a company spokesperson, the franchise owner of the Parksville Dairy Queen, Sukhi Singh, said “the health and safety of our fans and employees is our top priority and we are sorry for any concerns we caused.”
Singh said “all concerns” mentioned in the inspection report were “immediately resolved.”
“Additionally, we have reviewed processes with our team to ensure proper training throughout the restaurant,” Singh said. “We realize we didn’t meet these standards several months ago and we are committed to meeting them.”
WorkSafeBC confirmed the Dairy Queen had complied with the orders.
The agency also issued an order to Prima Pizza in Summerland following a June 2 inspection conducted over the phone.
According to the inspector, owner Kelly Kelso said he did not have a COVID-19 safety plan, which is required by all employers in the province.
“I said ‘I don’t have a plan in a binder for the staff to read, but I have a safety plan,’ ” Kelso told NEWS 1130 Tuesday, recalling his conversation with the WorkSafeBC employee.
Kelso said he has since complied with the order and has put coronavirus protocols in place, including limiting the number of customers allowed inside his takeout restaurant, signage and sanitizing.
After NEWS 1130 spoke with Kelso, WorkSafeBC said the order to Prima Pizza was still outstanding. Kelso did not respond to an invitation to provide a follow-up comment.