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Kelowna Chamber wants better access to rapid tests

Chamber wants rapid tests

Victoria Femia

The Kelowna Chamber of Commerce is calling on the provincial government to improve access to rapid tests and loosen event capacity restrictions, while suggesting B.C. is falling behind other provinces.

Chamber executive director Dan Rogers says the limited ability for small businesses to access rapid test kits is a major concern for the organization.

“It’s not perfect but it’s another tool in the tool box. We’ve seen across the country,... have made rapid test kits available for small businesses and communities,” said Rogers.

“Whether they’re in Alberta or Ontario and in Ontario’s case, thousands have been distributed, but B.C.’s lagging behind.”

Rogers added that he’d like to see the province be more active, particularly for small businesses, calling rapid tests “a great way to keep people safe.”

On Tuesday, Health Minister Adrian Dix said 6,931,175 rapid tests have been received in B.C. to date, 4,130,656 of which have been deployed to "key strategic areas."

Tests will be going to heathcare workers, longterm care homes for testing of staff and visitors, rural, remote and Indigenous communities and schools.

The province has also announced that 250,000 rapid tests will be allocated to child care professionals.

Another major concern for the chamber is the restrictions on indoor event capacities.

Under the current restrictions indoor events at venues can only have 50 per cent capacity, no matter the size. Rogers says those restrictions are "lingering in the background" and "will impact the tourism sector, that’s a lot of uncertainty."

He would like to see the province work with industries and businesses to find a way to begin to safely lift the restrictions.

“Develop the regulations, as you have done with gyms and fitness centres and don’t close them down or shut them down or prohibit them, look at ways to make them safe,” said Rogers.

“I think most industries and businesses are willing to work with the province.”



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