COVID-19: B.C. orders all restaurants take-out-only as 77 new cases emerge

Bonnie Henry closeup
B.C. provincial health officer Bonnie Henry | government screen shot

B.C. is ordering all restaurants closed for all but take-out and delivery services after revealing 77 new cases of COVID-19 in the province.

“The reason that we are doing this is so that we can build a firewall,” B.C.'s provincial health officer Bonnie Henry said at a Friday (March 20) press conference.

Henry, whose order goes into effect Friday, also urged British Columbians not to congregate in large groups.

“It’s become clear to me that there are certain settings where this is really a challenge,” she said.

“For many businesses they can and should stay open to support us but they need to have the important social-distancing measures in place to ensure there’s not that many people in the office environment, for example, there’s not face-to-face meetings, there’s not congregations in groups.”

While Henry said it’s important for British Columbians to go outside, she cautioned against people getting together in sizeable groups.

“We’re not to be out playing basketball, we’re not to be out sitting together in large groups, sitting on the beach watching the beautiful sunsets that we have, because when we’re out in groups like that, the chances are that somebody will be exposed to this virus and will then bring it home to our families and our communities,” she said.

A total of nine people in B.C. have succumbed to COVID-19 while 348 people across the province have tested positive for the virus.

About two-dozen B.C. health-care workers have contracted the virus, according to Henry.

“I’m happy to say none of them have had severe illness,” she said, adding health-care workers have been able to manage illness from their own homes so far.

“We do have the supplies that we need right now and we are committed to doing everything — everything — that we can to make sure that we continue to have what we need to best protect everybody in our health-care system right now.”

The move to close restaurant table service province-wide comes shortly after Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart announced the closure of all restaurants in the province’s economic and cultural centre.

Twenty-two people have been hospitalized in B.C. as a result of COVID-19, 10 of whom are in the intensive care unit.

As of March 19 the number of people in hospital totalled 17, while 13 were in hospital as of March 18 and seven were admitted on March 17.

Six days ago there were three people in hospital due to COVID-19.