For those who had plans to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in the city, and even follow the government’s suggestion of maintaining a social distance of one-meter or more at local watering holes, it’s not happening.
Following an afternoon press conference on COVID-19 on March 16, Vancouver mayor Kennedy Stewart said a public health order has been issued that will affect all food-and-drink establishments in downtown Vancouver.
“Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day, [and] we’re ordering all bars and restaurants to close that’s in the downtown core,” Vancouver mayor Kennedy Stewart said on CBC’s radio show On The Coast with Gloria Macarenko on Monday evening.
In an effort to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, Stewart said the decision was made after talking to provincial health authorities, who announced restrictions on gatherings of more than 50 people.
“This is an official order, so failure to comply is an offence, and we’re going to be enforcing this order, [with the] VPD as well as by-law officers. So it’s serious, and official, and bar and restaurant owners must comply,” explained Stewart.
The mayor added that the decision was made amid growing concerns of thousands of people gathering to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in downtown Vancouver.
The Straight has reached out to the City of Vancouver for more details on the public health order, such as specifics on any exemptions, and fines for those who fail to comply. We have not heard back at the time of publication.
Stewart urged local residents to not frequent bars and restaurants if they can’t keep one-metre social distance earlier today, and asked businesses to take even further health and safety protocols.