COVID-19: City of Vancouver encouraged by business compliance, with only one license suspension

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      Despite the financial losses that businesses are facing after closing during the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Vancouver has found that the vast majority of establishments are doing the right thing to help combat the spread of the coronavirus.

      After the province declared both a public health emergency on March 17 and a provincial state of emergency on March 18, the provincial government asked municipal governments to help with enforcing compliance with provincial public health orders and guidelines.

      The orders have included requiring all personal service establishments (nail bars, tattoo shops, spas, and more) and nightlife (bars, pubs, and nightclubs) to close, all eateries to shift to takeout or delivery only, all events with 50 or more people to be cancelled, and all farmers markets limiting sales to food only, 

      The City of Vancouver officially declared a state of emergency on March 19. On March 20, the city ordered all food establishments to halt dine-in services, with a potential fine of up to $50,000. (B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry also issued the same order for all B.C. food establishments on March 20 as well.)

      As of April 6, the city had conducted over 14,300 visits to the previously mentioned types of establishments, which includes restaurants (10,408 inspections), personal services (3,188 inspections), grocery stores (330 inspections), and liquor retail (397 inspections).

      Thus far, only one business license was suspended for non-compliance while 19 orders to comply have been issued.

      The city had previously reported that it suspended the business license of a Tim Hortons located at 108 West Pender Street on March 27 after issuing several warnings. 

      In addition, after 500 construction site had been inspected, nine non-compliance warnings were issued.

      Operators at the city’s 311 phone line, which citizens can call to report non-compliance concerns, has received 117 complaints about restaurants, 54 about personal services, and 28 other establishments.

      Meanwhile, the Vancouver Park Board, which is closing vehicle access to Stanley Park on April 8 due to lack of public compliance with social distancing guidelines, stated that park rangers had issued over 1,400 warnings about physical distancing to visitors at beaches and parks by April 4.

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook