Vancouver Island nightlife venue fined twice for violating COVID-19 health regulations

Meanwhile, a number of eateries and grocery stores in Whistler and Metro Vancouver have reported COVID-19 cases

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      When B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced new health orders on November 7, food and beverage establishments weren’t included in this round of new restrictions.

      She had previously pointed out that they had not been seeing transmission in restaurants that had been following safety plans carefully.

      However, Henry did warn all food and drink establishments that they were seeing transmission in venues that weren’t properly following health guidelines and would be cracking down on these places.

      However, as COVID-19 case numbers rapidly escalate in the province, it seems that not everyone has gotten the message.

      One such example occurred on Vancouver Island.

      Campbell River RCMP stated on November 17 that a nightlife venue in Campbell River has been fined twice for failing to follow provincial COVID-19 health regulations.

      According to Campbell River RCMP, police and health authorities received reports of concerns about conduct at an unidentified liquor and event establishment after provincial health orders were issued for businesses serving liquor.

      After health authorities and officers visited the establishment for educational purposes to ensure the health orders were understood by the operators.

      However, when officers found on followup visits that the business still wasn’t abiding by health rules, police issued two fines of $2,300 each.

      Prior to the latest health orders, Richmond News reported on November 3 that on October 24, Richmond RCMP had issued a $2,300 fine to an unspecified tea lounge located on Alexandra Road in Richmond for serving alcohol after 10 p.m., which contravenes provincial health officer orders.

      Officers reportedly became aware of the violation after responding to a report about a stabbing outside the lounge that evening. 

      Earls Restaurant Whistler

      Public exposures

      A number of regional health authorities have listed food and beverage establishments where public exposure events (which means that someone was on the premises with COVID-19) have taken place.

      Vancouver Coastal Health listed exposure events at three Whistler restaurants.

      One was at Earls Kitchen and Bar (220/221–4295 Blackcomb Way) during regular operating hours from October 31 to November 6.

      Another one took place at Buffalo Bill’s Bar and Grill (4122 Village Green) during operating hours on October 31.

      A third exposure took place at The Longhorn Saloon (4280 Mountain Square) on October 31 and from November 2 to 5 during operating hours.

      Pique Newsmagazine reported that several other food-related businesses in Whistler temporarily closed, including the Mexican Corner Restaurant, after an employee tested positive, and Fresh St. Market (4330 Northlands Boulevard) in Whistler had temporarily closed on November 8 after an employee tested positive. After sanitization, it reopened on November 9. 

      Island Health listed an exposure event at Browns Socialhouse (1661 Cliffe Avenue) in Courtenay, B.C., between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. on November 3 and 5.

      The restaurant posted a statement explaining that Island Health had informed them that a guest who dined at the location had tested positive.

      Bubble tea shop Xing Fu Tang announced on social media that an employee who last worked at the 3000–10153 King George Boulevard location from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on November 7 and 8 has tested positive.

      The shop closed for 14 days on November 11 and will reopen on November 25 after undergoing cleaning.

      In other recent news, several grocery store chains voluntarily announced several of its stores had employees who tested positive.

      Loblaw confirmed staff members who tested positive were at seven of its stores:

      • one employee who last worked at Your Independent Grocer (1255 Davie Street) in Vancouver on November 6;
      • one employee who last worked at the Shoppers Drug Mart (20159 88th Avenue) in Langley on November 9;
      • one employee who last worked at the Real Canadian Superstore (333 Seymour Boulevard) in North Vancouver on November 9;
      • one employee who last worked at the Real Canadian Superstore (45779 Luckakuck Way) in Chilliwack on November 9;
      • two employees who last worked at the Real Canadian Superstore (19851 Willowbrook Drive) in Langley on November 6 and 10;
      • one employee who last worked at the Real Canadian Superstore (2855 Gladwin Road) in Abbotsford on November 13;
      • one employee who last worked at Tyler’s No Frills (3455 Johnston Road) in Port Alberni on November 13.

      Meanwhile, Sobeys announced that staff members at two of its stores have tested positive:

      • one employee who last worked at FreshCo (7450 120 Street) in Surrey on November 10;
      • two employees who last worked at Safeway (119–2295 2nd Avenue West) in Prince Rupert, B.C., on November 5 and 6.

      T&T Supermarket announced staff members at three locations have tested positive, including:

      • one employee at the 2206 Kingsway store in Vancouver, who last worked there on November 5;
      • two employees at the Central City store located at 3000–10153 King George Boulevard in Surrey, who last worked there on November 5 and 7.
      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook.