Dr.Bonnie Henry, Adrian Dix and John Horgan destroy BC restaurant industry

British Columbia Public Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry’s Emergency Order, issued this afternoon (December 30) after 3:00 pm, requires all sellers of liquor in the province to cease selling tomorrow – New Year’s Eve – at 8:00 pm. Why exactly was this not communicated a week+ ago, given projections for COVID-19 cases through the holidays?

This is terrible public policy. Needless to say, this last-minute Order is crippling and completely unfair to the many restaurant and hospitality operators who have faithfully followed every Order to date, and are endeavouring to give their patrons a SAFE and enjoyable way to send off an awful 2020.  After a punishing year, how on earth are they supposed to deal with the inevitable cancellations of their second seating, AFTER they’ve ordered enough food for all those people? (And may need these receipts to pay their food costs after it’s all over.) And what do the authorities really think people will do in terms of liquor purchasing and consumption after 8:00 tomorrow night when they can’t sit in a responsibly-operated restaurant or other hospitality outlet?

Restaurant industry leadership specifically asked the BC government WITHIN THE LAST TWO WEEKS if the industry should expect any further measures over the Christmas holidays, and received assurance that no new more restrictive measures were anticipated.

I call out the government for this last-minute decision.  Dr. Henry, her colleagues and the Ministry of Health knew or ought-to-have-known what constraints they wanted to put on the public’s behaviour through the holiday period. This last-minute Order is borderline reckless public policy. To be credible and trusted, policymakers – and she is – must follow the golden rule: no surprises (where possible), and above all, treat your stakeholders with respect, particularly if you wish to retain their goodwill and partnership in efforts to limit further spread of the coronavirus.

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