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Restaurant association says patios need to have two walls open for air flow

Last Updated Apr 7, 2021 at 9:59 pm PDT

Summary

For a restaurant patio to be approved in B.C., it needs to have at least two walls open to outdoor air

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Many restaurants in Vancouver have transitioned to outdoor dining and have set up patios, but B.C. Restaurant and Food Services Association says it’s critical there are at least two sides open to outdoor air.

Since B.C.’s top doctor, Dr. Bonnie Henry, announced the restrictions affecting indoor dining last week, many restaurants moved outdoors and even started building patios. But plenty of eateries are not leaving room for air to flow through.

“I believe that all of those patios, even if they have those walled-in spaces with glass or plastic, … they should have the ability to open up those glass walls, they should have the ability to part the curtains on the plastic – it’s just a question of reminding and educating people that that is the requirement at this time of year,” Samantha Scholfield with the B.C. Restaurants and Food Services Association says.

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While there are not any particular patios that concern, Scholfield says since many owners are doing their best to keep guests safe, “I think we have to make sure that people are remembering that even on the crummiest day, if the wind is coming in sideways, or the rain is coming in sideways, we still want to make sure there is that airflow possible for the guest.”

Dr. Reza Afshari has studied the interaction of indoor air quality and the severity of COVID-19.

“If the physical characteristics, as well as the pattern that people behave during the time that they are sitting, are similar, all closed spaces should be treated similarly for managing the risk for transmission.

“In fact, if both sides are open for the ventilation, the possibility of transmission is far less.
“Please pay attention, the overall risk of transmission is the result of many variables. It’s not a clear-cut fixed formula. It’s probabilistic.”

Schofield encourages people to speak up if they are concerned about any patio spaces.

“A lot of people are still trying to adapt and understand exactly what’s involved in this order right now. So if people are seeing any concerns, it’s really important to nicely make the restaurant aware that they should have their walls open, or to bring it to our attention at the B.C. Restaurants Association, because we can help guide people and make that interpretation.”