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Restaurant and pub owners around Victoria say that they are ready to meet the challenge of the latest B.C. government COVID-19 guidelines issued on Thursday.

The new health order contains COVID-19 guidelines for nightclubs, bars and other alcohol-licensed establishments.

The rules are effective immediately and include restrictions on dance floors, alcohol self-service, and outside lineups.

Some key highlights are:

  • Dance floors must be closed with physical barriers or occupied with tables
  • Patrons must not sing, engage in karaoke or dance on the premises
  • Patrons must be assigned to tables in groups no more than six, and cannot leave their tables except to use washrooms or to order a drink at a bar. They must immediately return to their seats afterwards
  • Businesses must take steps to limit patrons congregating outside, including taking reservations and notifying patrons via an app or text when tables are available

The guidelines also outline steps towards contact tracing, including collecting contact information from patrons at the door.

Mike Holmes, Co-Owner of the Loft Pub, says that while he is still processing the guidelines, he can anticipate some changes at his live music venue.

“We had already closed the dance floor,” Holmes said. “But we had been letting people dance at their tables. Now they say no dancing.”

But the pub owner also says that he fully supports keeping people safe, and that he is ready to adapt.

“We’ve been doing well. It’s a bigger challenge, but we’ll get there.”

Solomon Siegel, the Owner and General Manager at Pagliacci’s restaurant, agrees.

“It’s to keep people safe,” said Siegel. “We’re completely on board with it.”

Pagliacci’s hosts live musicians and Siegel says he is still determining if the restaurant will need additional barriers to follow guidelines around separation of performers and audience members.

He added that he is pleased with the efforts of local politicians to support downtown business.

“The city’s been helpful with giving us outdoor patio space,” Siegel said. “That’s a huge benefit for us.”

Earlier this week Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry attributed a rise in BC’s COVID-19 cases to individuals failing to limit their contacts and social interactions.

“We are at a turning point. We right now show some concerning upward trends in our infection rate and our reproduction rate. We are on the edge,” said Dr. Henry at a briefing on Monday.

“We can contain this but we need people to be aware of it and take preventive measures and stop that next party where someone inadvertently brings it in and spreads the virus.”