The City of Revelstoke is allowing patios to open March 30, roughly two weeks earlier than usual. The patio is almost set up outside Monashee Spirits Craft Distillery. Owner Josh McLafferty said it should open soon. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)

The City of Revelstoke is allowing patios to open March 30, roughly two weeks earlier than usual. The patio is almost set up outside Monashee Spirits Craft Distillery. Owner Josh McLafferty said it should open soon. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)

‘It’s going to be a dislocated shoulder season’: Revelstoke businesses scramble with new COVID rules

Snap restrictions went into effect today (March 30) for restaurants, gyms, and religious groups

Revelstoke businesses are frustrated and scrambling after the province abruptly implemented new COVID-19 rules.

“This closure means more devastation,” said Rebecca Marchildon, owner of the Alchemy Studio.

On March 29, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced new restrictions halting indoor dinning, closing group fitness classes and banning in-person religious meetings. The new closures are scheduled to last until April 19.

READ MORE: B.C. stops indoor dining, fitness, religious service due to COVID-19 spike

“It’s so crazy that the government can randomly shut off our source of income,” said Marchildson. The Alchemy Studio runs yoga and other group fitness classes.

She said it appears the province has no clear plan when it comes to weathering a third wave of rising COVID-19 infections.

“There is no end in sight. At what point do you just decide to give up and stop going in the hole?”

Premier John Horgan said, March 29, case counts have been “unacceptably high” the previous 10 days. From March 27 to 29, 2,500 new cases were recorded.

Regardless, many business owners said the swift new restrictions came without warning during an already challenging year.

“It feels like we’ve take one step forward and been hit with a baseball bat,” said Josh McLafferty, owner of Monashee Spirits Craft Distillery.

According to a survey by Black Press Media in January, more than one-third of businesses in Revelstoke have lost revenues beyond 50 per cent due to COVID-19 since last March.

READ MORE: ‘It’s pretty bad’: One-third of Revelstoke businesses report losses beyond 50% from COVID-19

While talking to Black Press Media, McLafferty installed his patio. Monashee Spirits Craft Distillery plans to collaborate with other businesses in Revelstoke, such as the Village Idiot. McLafferty will provide drinks and the Village Idiot the cuisine via a food truck.

“We’re just trying to find creative ways to stay open,” said McLafferty.

While Mayor Gary Sulz expected COVID-19 numbers to increase during spring break, these snap closures also caught him off guard.

“I am shocked,” he said.

Sulz said he worries whether businesses and their staff will be able to survive the prolonged COVID-19 storm.

The Easter holiday is one of the most profitable weekends during the ski season, said Stephen Jenkins, owner of the Quartermaster Eatery and Explorers Society Hotel.

READ MORE: Vote for the best restaurant in Revelstoke

He said his restaurant is stuck with a full kitchen of inventory. While the City of Revelstoke swiftly allowed patios to open March 30, approximately 14 weeks earlier than usual, Jenkins said for now his restaurant will focus on take-out, preferring to wait until warmer weather to offer outdoor dining.

While post-Easter is typically a slow period for businesses in Revelstoke, Jenkins said this year will be particularly difficult. Not only are there less travellers, but Highway 1 upgrades near Golden will close the road completely until mid-May, making it far more difficult for tourists to reach our city. Not to mention, the new COVID-19 restrictions on top of that.

“It’s going to be a dislocated shoulder season,” he said.

Jenkins said while the recent rules harm his restaurant, they have also hammered his hotel. Soon after the restrictions were announced, he said people started calling to cancel accommodation bookings.

He said a strong summer economically will be critical for recovery.

“Lets hope this is the last closure. Third time the charm,” said Jenkins.

While some businesses have pivoted to patios and takeout, others have halted operations until April 19 and laid off all staff.

“It’s just not worth staying open,” said Roddy MacIsaac, owner of Big Bend Cafe.

Compared to last year, business has already plummeted by 60 per cent he said.

“We were barely holding on.”

MacIsaac said the restaurant industry is being targeted unfairly and the restrictions should not be province-wide, but in areas with high COVID-19 numbers. As of March 30 there are 421 new cases in Fraser Health Authority, compared to 67 in the Interior. In the last weekly update for Revelstoke, there were only two new cases.

The sentiment for regional restrictions is echoed by MLA for Revelstoke Doug Clovechok.

READ MORE: Restaurant restrictions should not be province wide: MLA Clovechok

MacIsaac said these new restrictions might be the final breaking point for many businesses across the province.

“We’ve given Dr. Bonnie Henry the power of God,” he said.

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
liam.harrap@revelstokereview.com


 

@pointypeak701
liam.harrap@revelstokereview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Business

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

Just Posted

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Interior Health announces 89 cases of COVID-19 in the region

Currently, there are 900 active cases in the region

The original retaining walls were made out of metal stakes and boulders. (Urban Options)
Peachland council denies permit for already-built retaining wall

Wall was built before moving through development permit application process

B.C. wineries are open for indoor tasting despite new provincial health regulations. Photo- 
50th Parallel Winery, Instagram.
Indoor wine tastings still allowed in B.C., not considered a ‘social gathering’

“Tasting is really just part of the retail experience. The analogy I use is you wouldn’t buy a pair of pants without trying them on.”

The District of Peachland seen from the skies over Highway 97. (Contributed)
Peachland council supports RDCO emergency operations grant application

The district’s emergency operations are managed regionally

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

A five-storey, 60-unit building has been proposed for 8709 Jubilee Rd. E., Summerland. The proposal will be the subject of a public hearing on March 22. (Image by GTA Architecture)
Zoning, OCP amendments adopted for Summerland housing development

Council gives final readings for controversial five-storey, 60-unit housing development

A youth was arrested following a car crash on Wallace Street on Saturday, April 10. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Onlookers laugh and jeer as B.C. teen beaten, then forced to strip and walk home

Police arrest older teen, call video shared on social media ‘disturbing’

The Red Pill Rapper performs to the crowd gathered for the Rally For Food Security at Blackburn Park on Saturday, April 10, 2021. (Kristal Burgess Photography)
The Red Pill Rapper performs to the crowd gathered for the Rally For Food Security at Blackburn Park on Saturday, April 10, 2021. (Kristal Burgess Photography)
Suspicion of ‘fake news media’ makes rally uncomfortable for Salmon Arm event photographer

More than 300 people counted at city park for ‘Rally For Food Security’

A lady wears a sticker given out after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count slows after last week’s peak

3,219 new cases since Friday, 18 additional deaths

North Cowichan councillor Tek Manhas did not violate the municipality’s code of conduct by posting a sexist meme on Facebook, council concludes. (File photo)
B.C. municipality to take no action against councillor who posted sexist meme

Tek Manhas’s meme doesn’t violate North Cowichan council’s code of conduct, municipality concludes

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The former Summerland Asset Development Initiative building on Prairie Valley Road in Summerland was suggested as the site for a temporary transitional housing facility for the community. However, Summerland council has rejected this proposal. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Summerland council rejects transitional housing facility

Concerns raised about short timeline and condition of municipally-owned building

Penticton Vees continue their winning streak carrying a 5-0 win title as of Sunday night's hockey action. (Cherie Morgan/Cherie Morgan Photography)
Penticton Vees continue winning streak

Sunday night’s 6-1 win has them with five in a row since the start of the season

Most Read