Restaurant association asks province to give it advance warning before re-opening the industry

Restaurants ask for time

We need time to prepare.

That's the message Ian Tostenson delivered to the province this week.

Tostenson, president and CEO of the BC Restaurant & Foodservices Association, met earlier this week with Dr. Brian Emerson, deputy provincial health officer and Dr. Bonnie Henry's right-hand man.

"We have asked for some notice. They (province) don't want to say anything prior to the long weekend, they don't want to send any signals. But, we have pointed out that to fill the pipeline, to get produce in from California is 10 days," said Tostenson.

"We need at least 10 days. We are also under a lot of pressure to find staff. A lot of staff have gone and done other things."

He says some restaurants are hurting trying to get both back and front of house staff. In some cases, they are at just 50 per cent.

Tostenson says everything from the province indicates any announcement won't be forthcoming until next Tuesday but, with current health orders set to expire Monday, "it's kind of dangerous for (Dr. Henry) not to say anything Thursday and at 12:01 (Monday) in theory they are not under the health restrictions, so I would have to think she has to say something."

When an announcement is made, Tostenson says he believes a return to half capacity is something the industry, and the public, can handle.

"We need to open up cautiously, we need to reassure the public with safety again.

"I think if we open up to 50 per cent capacity where we were, and were able to extend the hours to midnight from 10 o'clock, that would help the patios with more people outside, we would be happy with that. We could run with that for the summer. "

Tostenson says the public isn't ready for a full, wide opening yet.

"About 35 per cent of the population in general is still going to be, I'm not ready yet, another 30 per cent will say lets give er, and the rest will want to be cautious."

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