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British Columbia shutting down again as COVID cases rise

While Washington state has eased restrictions on indoor dining and gathering, British Columbia is taking the opposite approach. B.C. is pausing indoor dining, until at least April 19, although outdoor dining is still allowed. 
The closure is in reaction to a 34 percent jump in COVID-19 average daily cases over the last week. Officials call it a “circuit breaker” to curb the numbers.

Ian Tostenson, president of the BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association, predicts upward of 30 percent of bars and restaurants will eventually close because of the pandemic. He says it is sad because they have put so much effort in keeping their businesses safe for customers.

Ian Tostenson, president and CEO of BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association
Ian Tostenson

"It's just disappointing because they've just put in ... tireless amount of hours of work to keep your businesses open, in very difficult circumstances," Tostenson said. "Now, you're gonna have to layoff staff and they're, you know, it's a step backwards."

The shutdown is a shock for Daniel Turner, owner of two Cockney Kings Fish and Chips restaurants in suburban Vancouver.

"I wasn't ready for it, to be honest. But like anything else has happened over the last year, you just kind of pivot," Turner said.

Since one of his locations has a patio and much of his business is already takeout, Turner is hopeful he will not have to layoff any staff. 

Officials also shut down the Whistler Blackcomb ski resort until at least April 19 and suspended just-released rules on allowing indoor worship services.

While gyms can stay open and one-on-one personal training can continue, all adult fitness classes have been canceled.

The current test-positive rate in British Columbia is 9.68 percent, which is an all-time high.