Dr. Bonnie Henry ordered closure of all restaurants in B.C.

Take-out only at restaurants

UPDATE: 4:45 p.m.

After 77 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in B.C. in the past 24 hours, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry ordered all restaurants must halt in-house dining, and move to take out only.

The order comes after Dr. Henry ordered all bars and clubs to close earlier this week, citing the inability for people to maintain sufficient “social distancing” in these settings.

While this direction to bars and restaurants has been clear, the province is leaving the decision to close or remain open in the hands of other businesses.

“For many businesses, they can and should stay open to support us, but they need to have the important social distancing measures in place to insure there's not that many people in the office environment for example, there's not face to face meetings, there's not congregations in groups.,” Dr. Henry said.

“The reason we're doing this is to prevent transmission of the virus ... Businesses need to take the measures to make sure that it's don't in a way that is safe and in a way that reduces the possibility of people coming into contact with each other and passes this virus.

“There are many that can do it, and there's many that need to take extra precautions.”

Several people have contacted Castanet, concerned about the lack of measures their employers have put in place to meet those goals. During Friday's press conference, Dr. Henry said employees should bring these concerns up with their company's human resources department.

“If we have transmission in a business setting, it affects that entire business and that will have a long-term effect,” she said.

Despite the provincial state of emergency declared earlier this week, many people are still out enjoying the sunshine with groups of friends. Dr. Henry said while it's important to get outside, the spread of the virus can not be slowed when people continue to congregate.

“We're not to be out playing basketball, we're not to be out sitting together in large groups on the beach watching the beautiful sunsets we have, because when we're out in groups like that, the chance is that somebody will be exposed to this virus and then we'll bring it home to our families, and our communities,” she said. “We need to be with our families, we need to be our close friends – one or two of us.”

Health Minister Adrian Dix echoed Dr. Henry's comments.

“There's no longer any room for almost, or pretty good or nearly enough. Starting now our collective fight must be 100 per cent all of the time,” he said. “We need to give our healthcare professionals, Dr. Henry, a whole team of people around the province who are preparing to deal with the health consequences of this virus, we need to give them the flattened curve they need to provide the continued service and continued care that will help everyone in the province.”

ORIGINAL: 3 p.m.

Another 77 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in B.C., with seven new cases in the Interior Health region. 

During the daily B.C. government press conference Friday, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the new cases bring the total in the province to 348. There are 19 confirmed cases in the Interior Health region. 

Currently 22 people have been hospitalized due to the virus. Ten of these patients are in the ICU. 

The vast majority of cases are in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, where 200 cases have been confirmed. 

Dr. Henry also ordered that all restaurants in the province move to take out only, completely eliminating the option to have sit down meals in B.C. restaurants. Dr. Henry banned all bars and clubs earlier this week. 

More to come...

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