While we’ve been hearing a lot of bad news lately regarding the restaurant industry, on Monday, BC’s Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gave us a sliver of hope regarding the potential of local eateries to reopen dining rooms in the future.
When asked by a reporter if there was any scenario that she would consider safe for restaurants to begin reopening dining room service next month, Dr. Henry said she’d be looking to the industry itself to come up with ideas that might work.
“There are ways.” Dr. Henry said during the April 20 press conference. “What I’m putting out there is we need to be able to maintain those decreased connections.”
Dr. Henry noted that many eateries have found innovative ways to operate takeout services safely thus far, highlighting pickup and delivery services as an example of an industry pivot.
While she does think “there are options” for the restaurant industry to explore, she said that she does not see the dining scene going back to what we had before “for a time.”
“This is not forever; this is for the foreseeable months, certainly this summer, and then we’ll have to think again about things into the fall as the influenza and respiratory virus starts, and we may need to rethink some things.”
“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.”
“It’s going to be a challenge … particularly small restaurants in the coming months.”
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At the beginning of April, Restaurants Canada released a survey that showed 800,000 jobs have been lost in the country’s foodservice sector due to coronavirus, and 121,500 of those positions were in BC.