KELOWNA (NEWS 1130) – “Vote that f***** out.” That’s what a pub owner in Kelowna is telling customers to do in the fall provincial election as their business continues to struggle during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The owner of Doc Willoughby’s says he put the message at the bottom of their receipts as a “cry for help.”
“We shut down for months and have followed every new restriction to a tee, but we’re not getting rewarded,” Dave Willoughby told KelownaNow. “It’s a cry for help in some ways after another blow to an industry that simply can’t take many more.”
A #Kelowna pub is not mincing words as it gets political. Doc Willoughby's receipt tells ppl. to vote "that f***** out" in provincial election. It's in response to order preventing them from selling booze past 10pm (order made by Dr. Bonnie Henry; not provincial gov't) @NEWS1130 pic.twitter.com/3dYm6efpWU
— Monika Gul (@MonikaGul) September 30, 2020
Earlier this month, bars, pubs, and restaurants were ordered to stop selling alcohol after 10 p.m. in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19, drawing the ire of Willoughby and many others.
“It’s especially hurtful that liquor can be sold from 7 a.m. until 11 p.m. at government liquor stores,” Willoughby said. “Every night we have people leaving our bar at 10 p.m. and heading to a liquor store and then to somebody’s home where there is no contact tracing to continue drinking.”
While the order was made by B.C.’s top doctor, Bonnie Henry, and not the provincial government, Willoughby tells KelownaNow he thinks the B.C. Liberals would be more sympathetic to small businesses if in office.
According to Elections BC, this does seem to be election advertising and it has been in contact with the ower to ensure he is aware of the requirements under the Election Act. It adds he will be registering as a third-party advertising sponsor.
Online, the pub is being condemned by some but applauded by others.
“Wow, definitely not going to be going there again. Even if that is thier (sic) opinion this is an idiotic move marketingwise (sic),” wrote one person on Facebook. “I fully support this ! (sic) Good for you!” said another.
In addition to not being allowed to sell booze past 10 p.m., bars, pubs, and restaurants must keep customers two metres apart unless they are separated by physical barriers and must not seat more than six people together at a table. Businesses must also close by 11 p.m. unless they’re selling food. They are also expected to take a name and number from groups for contact tracing.