Although his restaurant has a large patio, Moose Mulligans owner Denny Loughran is frustrated with the recent public health order which shut down indoor dining across B.C. on short notice. (Jim Elliot-Eagle Valley News)

Although his restaurant has a large patio, Moose Mulligans owner Denny Loughran is frustrated with the recent public health order which shut down indoor dining across B.C. on short notice. (Jim Elliot-Eagle Valley News)

‘Don’t punish everyone because of Whistler and Big White:’ New rules frustrate Shuswap restaurateurs

Business owners upset with B.C. government not providing advance notice

Frustration is the prevailing feeling for Denny Loughran as he retools operations at Moose Mulligans Public Eatery in Sicamous, hoping to keep his staff of over 35 working.

The cause of the frustration is a public health order issued on March 29 which has forced restaurants across the province to close their indoor dining rooms and only serve people seated outside or picking up takeout. The measures are supposed to be in place for three weeks as a “circuit breaker” to slow rising COVID-19 case totals, but Loughran is concerned about its impact on his business, his staff and the industry as a whole.

He said Moose Mulligans has done everything that was asked of them to make indoor dining safe and passed multiple inspections from Interior Health and WorkSafeBC.

Loughran said he recognizes that COVID-19 cases are on the rise but thinks restrictions could be rolled out region by region in order to keep areas where the case count is lower open.

“Don’t punish everyone because of Whistler and Big White,” he said.

Read More: Column: Shuswap Trail Alliance co-founders helped create a legacy to be proud of

Read More: Shuswap trails trailblazers to be honoured

Loughran said that Moose Mulligans’ large patio makes it fairly well suited to weathering the indoor dining shutdown but it is another setback for businesses already dealing with reduced indoor capacity and longer shutdowns last year.

Although the shut down creates hardships for businesses, Loughran said it can also be very bad for employees, particularly workers who rely on tips. Loughran said tipped workers have already faced setbacks such as early closures on nights like St. Patrick’s Day and New Years Eve which would ordinarily offer the potential for large earnings.

Loughran said he is trying to keep his staff working, knowing how hard it can be for workers to catch up after having to wait for an EI cheque to come through.

Other Sicamous eateries such as Brothers Pub and G&G Kitchen and Tap have also rushed to open up their patios as a way to stay up and running through the health order.

Patio season will also arrive sooner than expected in Salmon Arm with the province’s latest health restrictions putting a stop to indoor dining at restaurants.

The unexpected news prompted two downtown Salmon Arm restaurateurs to contact the city about pushing up the opening date for downtown sidewalk patios. The city’s sidewalk café extension program permits the removable structures between May 1 and Oct. 31.

Salmon Arm Mayor Harrison expressed support and hoped the weather allows for outdoor dining.

Hanoi 36 and the Shuswap Pie Company were the first downtown Salmon Arm businesses to take advantage of the city’s sidewalk café extension program in 2020. The owners of both were grateful for the outdoor seating option amid last year’s varying pandemic restrictions.

Read more: Downtown Salmon Arm sidewalk patios likely to return next spring

Read more: Salmon Arm council decides to waive fees for sidewalk cafés during pandemic

Michael Vu, the owner of Hanoi 36, said he contacted the city right after Monday’s announcement.

Vu said he was disappointed that B.C. restaurant owners received little advanced notice from the province.

“I just got $500 worth of meat – that might not be much, but for a little business like myself… it’s just like wow, what are we going to do now?” Vu said with a laugh.

Barley Station Brew Pub’s Stu Bradford could empathize with having to deal with difficulties selling off large food orders from a restaurant with no indoor dining.

“That was certainly the feeling we all had. This is quite a blow to all of us,” said Bradford.

Despite the possibility the three-week stoppage on in-house dining could be extended, Bradford noted customers were already using the pub’s attached patio, and he was optimistic the community would continue to show its support.


lachlan@saobserver.net
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

General

Salmon Arm

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Guy Barber in front of his jewellery store at 208 Mackenzie Avenue, circa 1915. (Revelstoke Museum and Archives photo 272)
Glimspes of Revelstoke’s past for April 8

Local history as recorded by the newspaper of the time

Downtown Revelstoke. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
LETTER: Finding Common Ground Through COVID-19

‘How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.’

Alchemy Studio received a ticked from the RCMP on Thursday, April 8, for staying open despite provincial restrictions ordering yoga studios be closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. (Contributed)
Revelstoke yoga class fined for defying COVID-19 orders

The RCMP were called to the Alchemy Studio on April 8

The Royal’s 1959 visit to Revelstoke. (Photo by Revelstoke Museum and Archives #17)
PHOTOS: Prince Philip visited Revelstoke – twice

The prince died April 9 at the age of 99

B.C's COVID-19 dashboard shows the peaks and valleys of cases prior to the record daily report of 132 on April 9, 2021. (Dashboard image)
Interior Health has record day of COVID-19 cases

132 cases reported Friday, April 9, more deaths in Vernon hospital outbreak

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

These nails were collected off the Campbell Mountain bike trails in Penticton this weekend. Someone placed them all over the trail. (Facebook)
Hundreds of nails placed on popular Penticton bike trail

A mountain biker took to Facebook to warn others about the nails

A second case of COVID-19 has been confirmed at Vernon’s BX Elementary School. (Kerry Hutter photo)
Second COVID case confirmed at Okanagan elementary school

Exposure at Vernon’s BX Elementary happened April 6 and 7

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

People walk past the Olympic rings in Whistler, B.C., Friday, May 15, 2020. Whistler which is a travel destination for tourists around the world is seeing the effects of travel bans due to COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Adults living, working in Whistler, B.C., eligible for COVID-19 vaccine on Monday

The move comes as the province deals with a rush of COVID-19 and variant cases in the community

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
UPDATE: RCMP investigating after child, 6, dies at motel in Duncan, B.C.

The BC Coroners Service is conducting its own investigation into the circumstances around the child’s death

Highway 97 being converted to four lanes in April 1990. This photo taken in Lake Country. (Greater Vernon Museum and Archives Photo #14025)
HISTORY: How the old Highway 97 in Lake Country got new name

Pelmewash Parkway recognizes the First Nations history in Lake Country

RCMP display some of the fish seized from three suspects who pleaded guilty to violating the Fisheries Act in 2019, in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - RCMP
3 banned from fishing, holding licences after overfishing violations near Vancouver Island

Mounties seized the group’s 30-foot fishing vessel and all equipment on board at the time

Most Read