A comment from Peter at https://ppazucha.wordpress.com/ dropped my jaw. He lives in Wisconsin, read an article by a local food critic attributing one third of all COVID outbreaks to restaurants. He thought of me, knowing hospitality pays my bills in Vancouver B.C. Peter kindly reached out with heart warming concern. I doubt he knew that 1/3 of outbreaks linked to restaurants would blow my mind.
No wonder the U.S./Canada border remains closed. In all of Canada 9,170 COVID deaths are attributed to 136,141 confirmed infections. British Columbia has 6,162 infections, 211 deaths. Across the border in Washington State 82,645 cases account for 2.080 deaths. ( All figures accurate today )
Offhand I can’t think of a single outbreak linked to Canadian restaurants. Almost all outbreaks in Canada were traced to senior care facilities or food processing plants. Certainly not food service, emphatically not restaurants. If a third of U.S. infections stem from restaurant visits, what does that say about America’s mindset?
In British Columbia bars and restaurants were closed from late March to end of May. Re-opening guidelines were strict – 50% capacity, 6 metres between tables, maximum 6 guests per table, mandatory masks for staff, mandatory contact tracing info collected from all patrons. To create higher capacity, restaurants are allowed to block off street parking, fence in additional outdoor seating. Meticulous regard for legislation, the only thing standing between economic survival and bankruptcy. Trust me, local businesses know what’s at stake. By no stretch of imagination are restaurants in Canada contributing to COVID infection.
All good until daily infection rates started to climb. (From single digits to 100 or so a day) Despite no correlation between restaurants and rising daily infections, restaurants, bars and banquet halls took it on the chin. This week nightclubs and banquet halls were ordered to close effective immediately. Liquor sales must cease at 10 pm, alcohol can only be served with food, all bars and restaurants have to close by 11 pm. In addition, music can’t be louder than “conversation level” – loud music forces people closer to talk, facilitates shouting which spreads respiratory droplets.
Silly as it sounds, absurd or ridiculous as it seems, Canadians will abide by the rules. In my mind that explains the staggering anomaly between U.S./Canada pandemic statistics.