Local bar and restaurant reacts to the new last-call restrictions

Bar reacts to liquor cut-off

Sarita Patel

With a surge in COVID-19 cases amongst young people, Dr. Bonnie Henry announced this week that liquor service at bars and restaurants must now end by 10 p.m.

Castanet spoke with local bar and restaurant owner Kyle Nixon of BNA Brewing to see how this new restriction impacts his business.

“I think out of all the things so far, this one affects us the most because for a lot of restaurants … have a good volume of alcohol that’s where you make your margins,” he said. “There’s definitely better margins in alcohol and drinks in general than food.”

Nixon says the early closing could lead to people taking their groups to larger private parties after they leave their monitored restaurant. 

“From 10 p.m. to 12 a.m. we’re safer keeping them here within in the six [person table limit] and managing it."

Also included in the health orders this week, the volume of music and TVs will be limited to below that of normal conversation to prevent patrons from having to yell, but that is something Nixon says won’t really affect them.

‘Late night we definitely turn the music up, but for us now not being able to serve after ten, it won’t really affect anything we do because part of great hospitality is making sure people can enjoy conversation,” he adds.

Nixon questions why so many of the health orders have been focused on bars and restaurants while other businesses, like self-serve gas stations, continue to operate as they did before the pandemic. 

“You go to these other businesses that are maybe essential services and they don’t have the same parameters put around them.”
“I feel as confident as about our practice here, if it’s 10 o’clock or 5 o’clock, with COVID we’re all still learning. I don’t think it has a curfew on when it goes to bed.”

He says a lot of bar and restaurant owners are resilient and adaptable but feels like this latest round of restrictions is a large burden.

“I feel like we’re being treated a little bit like a video game here and just seeing how far we can be pushed until we may not make it. I don’t think this is it yet, I think we’ve still got a lot of fight left in us,” said Nixon, adding he thanks everyone who has continued to support Kelowna businesses throughout the pandemic.

The B.C. government also announced Tuesday that all nightclubs and banquet halls must close. 

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