Photo posted to Aria Banquet and Convention Centre’s Facebook page in April of this year. (Facebook.com)

Shut us down during pandemic, banquet hall owners ask B.C. government

‘(We) end up being the bad guy for not allowing them to party how they want to’

Operators of banquet halls in B.C. want to be shut down by the provincial government, to relieve public pressure on them to break COVID-19 rules and also avoid hefty fines.

BC Banquet Hall Association members say they’re in a no-win situation.

Facilities are losing tens of thousands of dollars a week in revenue, according to a news release from the association.

Members are trying to follow provincial rules to keep the halls COVID-safe, the association says, but on the other hand, customers and families are pressuring them to bend these rules.

“In most cases these families have been having private events leading up to a wedding for several days,” Sukh Mann, president of the BC Banquet Hall Association, says in a news release. “When they come to our hall for a wedding reception, we are now asking them to sit separately and not go to the bar for a drink. They are arguing with us there and claiming they are all in the same social bubble. We have no way of knowing that and end up being the bad guy for not allowing them to party how they want to. In some cases this has led to clients not paying for the venue after the event.”

A media conference about the issues is planned at Surrey’s Aria Banquet and Convention Centre on Monday afternoon (Aug. 24).

Any banquet hall guilty of breaking B.C.’s COVID-19 rules are subject to fines of up to $25,000 and jail time of up to six months.

Mann said mounting pressure from customers, and threats of fines and jail time from government, has led B.C. banquet hall owners to join their counterparts in Canada in asking government for a complete shutdown of such venues.

“We have repeatedly asked for help and guidance from the provincial health officer and governments to help us come up with a plan that pertains to banquet halls,” Mann said. “We have been given no guidelines on how to operate except to follow restaurant guidelines and in many ways that is been very challenging.”

According to the association, some larger venues have been accommodating more than one group at a time because they can be separated into sections with wall dividers or are able to portion out the seating, much like restaurants, and even provide separate bars and bathroom facilities. However, the cost difference of having a buffet as opposed to individual meals “is not sitting well with those looking to book a banquet hall and again, pressure to bend the rules has been on for most owners,” the association says.



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

Coronavirus

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

Just Posted

Facey nominated as BC Liberal candidate for the North Island riding

Liberal candidate Norm Facey has a background in forestry and manufacturing.

Some north Island forest service roads to get a minor facelift with COVID-19 recovery funding

Side Bay access road no longer ‘up in the bureaucratic air’ thanks to temporary budget increase

Port Hardy’s top cop says goodbye, last day will be Oct. 30

‘I want to pause, reflect, and give thanks for my experiences and time given here’

Cops for Cancer: COVID-19 can’t stop Tour de Rock

‘having the chance to come back and ride this year means everything to me’

Port McNeill mayor elected as Director at Large with UBCM

Gaby Wickstrom ran for one of five spots against 13 other candidates

Island Corridor Foundation launches survey on importance of Vancouver Island rail

“ICF remains 100 per cent committed to the restoration of full rail service on Vancouver Island”

Island RCMP remind drivers not to text after 19 tickets handed out in 90 minutes

The $368 fines were handed out Tuesday on Norwell Drive and Old Island Highway in Nanaimo

Vanderhoof’s Brian Frenkel takes on top job in tough times

We can get through this, new local government leader says

Three years for serial bank robber who hit southern Vancouver Island branch

Lucas Bradwell was wanted for robberies in Abbotsford, Sidney and Vancouver

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Local councils important, Horgan says as municipal conference ends

B.C. NDP leader says ‘speed dating’ vital, online or in person

Penticton woman sentenced to one year in prison for manslaughter of teen boyfriend

Kiera Bourque, 24, was sentenced for manslaughter in the 2017 death of Penticton’s Devon Blackmore

B.C. Green leader says NDP abandoning environmental plan

Horgan’s claim of unstable government false, Furstenau says

Most Read