Health Minister Adrian Dix looks during a press conference in the rotunda at Legislature in Victoria, B.C. on Wednesday May 6, 2020. Amid a rise in cases of COVID-19, the British Columbia government has set new rules for bars, nightclubs, and restaurants. (The Canadian Press/Chad Hipolito)

British Columbia enforces rules on bars and nightclubs as COVID-19 cases rise

Amid a rise in cases of COVID-19, the British Columbia government has set new rules for bars, nightclubs, and restaurants, according to an announcement from Adrian Dix, British Columbia’s minister of health, and Dr. Bonnie Henry, the provincial health officer on Wednesday. 

Under the new regulations, all patrons of bars and nightclubs must be seated at designated seats, there will be no liquor self-service, which means no ordering at the bar, and dancing will not be allowed. Measures will also need to be in place to reduce lineups and gatherings outside the establishment.

On Monday, the province reported 102 new cases of COVID-19 over the weekend. Henry said that 70 cases have been linked to events and parties in Kelowna, a city in British Columbia, over the last few weeks. 

“The B.C. COVID-19 curve is trending upward. We need to bend it back down to where it belongs,” Dix and Henry said in a joint statement. “We have proven that we know how to do this, and now each of us needs to make that happen.”

Henry and Dix earlier this week, noted the importance of keeping groups small, only spending time with those you know, and if you go out to restaurants and pubs to limit groups to no more than six people, and avoid table hopping. 

“We can all have a fun and safe summer in spite of COVID-19. Let’s focus our efforts, be mindful of those around us and give each other the space to stay safe,” they said. 

British Columbia is not the first province to impose restrictions on bars and nightclubs since opening them up. Earlier this month, the Quebec government implemented regulations on bars and nightclubs following an uptick in COVID-19 cases. 

With files from CBC News and Michelle Ghoussoub

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