The Penticton & Wine Country Chamber of Commerce is questioning the considerable inequity with continuing capacity restrictions in the Interior while lifting them in most parts of the province.
Businesses in the Interior, just as businesses around the province, have been and continue to do their part to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by following all public health orders and complying with the vaccine passport yet there is no clarity to why this region is being penalized, said Nicole Clark, past president of the Penticton & Wine Country Chamber of Commerce.
“Penticton has one of the highest rates of fully vaccinated, eligible residents in the province, yet our business community continues to be subjected to reduced capacities.” said Clark in a news release. “Are our double-vaccinated people less protected than those that received their shots elsewhere in the province? We request an immediate stop to these unfair restrictions.”
The Provincial Health Officer indicated on Oct. 26 that a decision on Interior Health capacity limits could occur within the coming week but that also didn’t happen.
After multiple requests by media to IH, on Monday they responded to say expect restrictions to stay.
“We can confirm there is no change to the regional medical health officer orders at this time, as COVID-19 continues to be circulating throughout the Interior region and IH is monitoring a number of ongoing outbreaks of concern,” said Interior Health in an email.
“Given the immense challenge all businesses have faced since the beginning of the pandemic, returning to full capacity and lifted restrictions while following the COVID safety health orders should be an option for all B.C. businesses and not based on regions. That is why the vaccine passport is in place,” said Clark.
It has been a difficult two years for the hospitality and service industries, especially for restaurants which have experienced the most changes throughout the pandemic.
Restaurants across B.C. and in Penticton were given no notice when the province paused indoor dining as of midnight Monday, March 29 carrying through to April 19.
Then the new Interior Health capacity restrictions came into place Aug. 20 and have not been lifted since.
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