The province is set to loosen restrictions on businesses soon but reopening restaurants could take a lot longer. So, when will B.C. restaurants reopen? According to one organization, although the province is entering Phase 1 next week, restaurants might not be ready until early next month.
B.C. asked the British Columbia Restaurant and Foodservices Association (BCRFA) to come up with guidelines for how restaurants will be able to open while keeping people safe.
In B.C.'s multiphased plan, restaurants, cafes, and pubs will be allowed to open after the May long weekend. However, Ian Tostenson, president and CEO of BCRFA, isn't so sure we'll be dining in anytime soon.
It will take time for all of the restaurants to make the recommended changes and follow guidelines. Plus, they need time to train staff on new procedures and to prepare supplies, said Tostenson to the CBC.
"If we said June 1, we would be pushing it really hard," he said. Even though they're allowed to reopen by mid-May, it will take until at least June to get everything together.
They submitted their "blueprint" for reopening restaurants on Thursday, April 30 for approval. It mainly centres on social distancing; they ask tables to be spaced two metres apart or separated by plexiglass, for example.
Staff would have to take regular temperature checks to make sure they're healthy. They would also be allowed to refuse service if customers are displaying COVID-19 symptoms.
The plan has been sent to Worksafe BC for them to look over and transform into a set of guidelines for use by restaurants provincewide.
We reached BCRFA for comment. This article will be updated.
They also recommend that salad bars and buffets stay closed until after phase two is finished, according to the blueprint. And for phase one, they say restaurants should only take 50% of the customers they're able.
A lot of the ideas they floated are similar to those in other provinces like Alberta.
The blueprint also has a detailed list of all the things a restaurant needs to have and do before opening up, like getting enough PPE and thermometres for their staff and writing up new procedures for refusing service.
There's a ton for restaurants to do, but it'll all be worth it when we can safely visit our favourite restaurants again.