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Dr. Bonnie Henry Responds To Restaurants Demanding Apology for NYE Rule Change

Dr. Bonnie Henry responds to restaurants

Photo: Province of BC / Flickr

B.C.’s health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry has address the letter written by 13 upset Vancouver restaurant owners.

The letter demanded an apology from Dr. Henry, for the last minute COVID-19 restrictions on New Year’s Eve. This order stipulated that all liquor services be prohibited from 8 pm on December 31, 2020, until 9 am on January 1, 2021.

The announcement came only on December 30th, catching many restaurant owners off-guard.

RELATED: Should B.C. Consider a COVID-19 Curfew Like Other Canadian Provinces?

The Letter

The open letter of complaint, to Dr. Bonnie Henry, was written by Meeru Dhalwala, co-owner of Vij’s restaurant, and signed by the owners of: The Acorn, The Arbor, Autostrada, Bao Bei, Bells and Whistles, Bishop’s, Bufala, Chambar, Kissa Tanto, Lucky Taco, My Shanti, Vij’s and Wildebeest.

It asked for an apology as well as a commitment for more consultation with the industry on future changes.

The letter explains how there was no prior indication leading up to New Year’s Eve, and no warning. As a result many restaurants had already laid out and booked reservations up until 10PM.

The group also outlines how safety protocols have been followed, and this evening was an opportunity to recoup some losses the industry has felt.

The Response

In Monday’s press conference, Dr. Henry commented that the order was “done for a very specific purpose,” and was based on information from the food and beverage industry, municipal leaders, and people in the community who all had concerns that people would gather post 10 PM.

“It really was about overconsumption of alcohol later in the evening, so that’s why we targeted all of the places where alcohol can be sold,” said Dr. Henry. “So stores, grocery stores that sell alcohol, restaurants, and bars. And that was done at short notice because of the issues that arose.”

Although not formally apologizing, she did acknowledge that the restaurant industry has been, “doing amazing things to keep things going.”

She also assured that she does consult with the food and beverage industry every couple of weeks. Dr. Henry also committed to having a discussion with restaurants about future events and will look to them for ideas.

What do you think?

Do you feel the response was fair, or do you think more should have been done? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


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