BC restaurant reopenings will not be the "flick of a switch": Horgan

Apr 30 2020, 4:38 pm

The provincial government is set to announce its plans to reopen some sectors of the economy next week but says establishments like restaurants will not be rushing to welcome diners all at once.

“It’s not just going to be the flick of a switch,” said Premier John Horgan in a press conference on Wednesday, adding that he wanted to “give credit” to the restaurant sector for putting plans in place so they can eventually operate safely.

Horgan acknowledged the public has to have full trust in establishments that they will be safe if they choose to dine there.

“Similarly, workers in the sector need that confidence as well, and the only way we build confidence is to have a set of common protocols — common guidelines in place to protect workers [and] in place to protect consumers,” said Horgan.

He says the grocery sector and other retail operations have demonstrated how procedures and protocols can be put in place to protect both staff and the public.

“That will not change as we outline our guidelines next week. In fact, that will be our foundation of the plan,” said Horgan.

He says the province is looking at how to “ensure that there are processes and guidelines in place so the public has confidence again that they can get back to a regular schedule of consumption whether that is buying goods and services — whether it’s to spend time on the leisure activities that are so important to all us.

“In order for that to happen, we need to have a plan and we need to have full buy-in from all British Columbians,” he said. “We’re focused on a slow, methodical, phased-in approach.”

Earlier this month, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said “there are options” for restaurants to explore in regards to reopening.

“I think there’s lots of innovative ways we can have in-restaurant dining that protects both the staff as well as people who are coming in, and I’m looking to the industry to come up with [how] those ideas could work,” she said.