VICTORIA — British Columbia’s restaurant and tourism operators applaud the easing of pandemic health restrictions, but say the sectors still face daunting COVID-19-related barriers to a robust return to business.
Industry representatives say the closed border between Canada and the United States and worker shortages will continue to hinder their restart despite fewer health restrictions.
Walt Judas, CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of B.C., says the industry lost billions of dollars in revenues over the past 16 months and it won’t start to recover until international travellers can visit B.C. and Canada.
Ian Tostenson, president of the B.C. Restaurant and Foodservices Association, says thousands of workers have left the restaurant industry during the pandemic and many reopening plans will be dictated by available staff.
Step two of B.C.’s four-step reopening plan permits indoor gatherings of a maximum of 50 people and extends the cutoff of alcohol sales at restaurants, pubs and bars to midnight.
Step three, due July 1, includes optional mask wearing, spectators at indoor sports events and further increases in capacity at indoor gatherings.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 15, 2021.
The Canadian Press