The B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has made amendments to pandemic regulations for restaurants and bars in light of a continuing surge in cases associated with partying young adults.
After several days of more than 30 new cases per day, Dr. Bonnie Henry says changes have been made to the Provincial Health Order regulating activities at bars and restaurants.
In particular, no more liquor self-service will be allowed at these establishments, which means guests will not be allowed to walk up to the bar and order a drink.
Patrons must remain in their designated seats, other than when they need to get up for bathroom breaks. Large groups visiting restaurants and pubs will no longer be allowed to sit at different tables and intermingle between one another—groups will be restricted to six people.
Dance floors will no longer be allowed to operate at bars and night clubs, and establishments will be required to further control lineups to ensure appropriate distancing.
These measures were announced after over 70 COVID-19 cases were identified among young people in their 20s and 30s who attended various parties in Kelowna.
The problem, according to Dr. Henry, is not that people are getting together with small groups, but that they are gathering with different small groups every night at house parties, houseboats, restaurants, etc.
Lowered inhibitions due to alcohol consumption makes physical distancing difficult in these situations.
As a result of exposure to these cases after attending these parties, over 1,000 people across all health regions in B.C. are currently in isolation at home.
Public health officials are now considering potential area-specific restrictions for the Okanagan region due to this uptick in cases.