Pub and restaurant owners in B.C. are looking for clarity on provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry’s direction on what they can and can’t do for one of their most profitable days of the year, Super Bowl Sunday.
Jeff Guignard, executive director of the Alliance of Beverage Licensees of B.C., said he has an “urgent conversation” scheduled with public health officials Tuesday to clarify whether venues can sell advance tickets for Super Bowl, which he says makes it easier to control the number of guests and maintain safe distance for staff and customers.
B.C. is the only Canadian province that has kept pubs and restaurants open since the initial stages of the year-long coronavirus pandemic, and Guignard says 80 per cent of them are losing money. One thing that is clear is that “any sort of promotions related to whatever you’re doing for Super Bowl” are going to be called offside.
“That gets a bit confusing for us as well, because if we have a wing special, is that considered a promotion?” Guignard said on CFAX radio in Victoria Feb. 2.
Operators are wary about Monday’s announcement from Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix that B.C’s public health orders expire on Friday and may be updated, depending on the situation. They don’t want a replay of New Year’s Eve, where operators sold tickets and brought in extra food and beverages, only to be told at the last minute that alcohol sales were being cut off at 8 p.m. instead of the 10 p.m. limit that has been in effect for months.
At Monday’s briefing, Henry and Dix made it clear that house parties for Super Bowl on Feb. 2 are not allowed, and subject to fines for organizers and attendees.
“We will be providing an update on Friday about the orders, but I am calling on everybody right now, hold off on the Super Bowl celebrations this year,” Henry said. “You should not be planning – whether it’s at home, in a bar, a restaurant – viewings of the Super Bowl.”
Henry and Dix agreed with Guignard that a well-regulated pub or restaurant is safer than a house party, but recent virus spread incidents in Whistler venues show that it is a struggle for staff to keep order later in the evening.
“We need to respect the staff and not put them at risk,” Henry said. “Stay small. Stay apart, keeping everyone safe so that we can keep our bars, our restaurants, our retail spaces, our workplaces open.”