“This is like the best Christmas ever”
Those are the words of BC Restaurant and Food Services Association President Ian Tostenson after Dr. Bonnie Henry announced restaurants, bars, and nightclubs can return to full capacity.
There will be no restrictions on table amounts, along with mingling and dancing allowed once again.
Tostenson told Vista Radio the industry received some pretty good indicators these changes were coming.
“Certainly in the last couple of weeks with our conversations with the Ministry of Health, you would hear things like the numbers are turning to our favour and you could see the optimism building within the health ministry that the trends we’re going the right way.”
“I think there are some really relieved people as nightclubs have been closed for two years now and bars it’s been the same thing. I think it’s going to be an interesting weekend where we see people go out and have some fun after a long two years.”
Tostenson is also applauding BC’s vaccination rates, which are among the highest in the world.
“I couldn’t imagine what would have happened had we not had the vaccination. We would be in chaos and in real trouble. I thought at one point at the very beginning, the industry was never going to survey because it was such a dark, dark time for all of us two years ago.”
“I think the biggest thing yesterday is the psychology that BC is open.”
Over 93% of residents 12 and older have received the first dose, while 90.5% are double vaccinated, and 53% have all three shots.
As of October, BC restaurants were short 29-thousand workers, however, Tostenson believes that figure is closer between 35 and 40-thousand.
He noted a plan is in place to get alleviate the situation.
“We are going to do a fairly substantial social media campaign targeted towards families and parents to say that this is a great time for your kid to go out and get a job in a restaurant. We are hiring and it’s a great first-time job to get some experience.”
“We are also working with the federal and provincial governments to lessen the time that it takes to bring in skilled foreign workers. It doesn’t matter what we do domestically we are still going to need skilled foreign workers.”