** This story was updated at 4 p.m. Friday, March 20
B.C.’s top doctor has ordered that all restaurants across the province must close their doors to dine-in guests and move to only take-out or delivery services until further notice.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced the order during the daily health briefing on Friday, March 20, as health officials confirmed 77 new COVID-19 cases in the province, bringing the total number of cases to 348.
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Original story filed Wednesday, March 18:
Some Surrey-area pubs and restaurants remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic by changing the way they do business.
On 96th Avenue, Donegal’s Irish House operator Daniel Cook says that after speaking at length with a health inspector, the pub has been cleared to operate in a limited capacity for food and beverage service.
“To provide a safe environment there will be no bar service, strictly tables, and we’ve reduced our tables to ensure that we’ve got in excess of two meters between all tables and limit of 50 people, as per Fraser Health’s recommendations,” Cook posted to Facebook on Wednesday morning (March 18).
“As there was fewer and fewer options for our community to eat, and the grocery stores stock depleted, we felt that we could best serve our loyal customers by providing a place for you to still get a good meal and to provide a safe service environment.
“Our hours for both dine-in and takeout will now be 12 to 7 p.m., until further notice.”
Elsewhere, the Guildford location of Red Robin restaurant remains open with service limited to 50 patrons.
The McDonald’s restaurant in Surrey’s Panorama neighbourhood is not offering dine-in service at the moment, but is open for takeout and drive-through orders.
On Tuesday (March 17), B.C.’s top doctor ordered all bars and pubs to close in B.C. until further notice to avoid the spread of COVID-19. Restaurants that cannot practice social-distancing among its guests and manage crowd sizes were also ordered to close.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry suggested that the restaurants and cafes that can practice safe distancing – or two metres apart – can stay open by changing their layouts.
In a statement to restaurateurs, the B.C. Restaurant and Food Association said to consider removing tables and spreading tables apart, removing bar seating, and adopting frequent sanitation of high touch surfaces, pin pads, menus and doors.
Surrey-based Joseph Richard Group decided to temporarily suspend all dine-in operations at all of its public house and restaurant locations effective March 17, until further notice, including The Henry pub in Cloverdale, S+L Kitchen & Bar in South Surrey and all Townhall locations.
In Whalley, the Round Up Café was due to close Wednesday afternoon following lunch service.
In the Panorama area, Big Ridge Brewing Co. is also closed for now.
In Newton, Brewster’s Pub has closed its doors, but the liquor store remains open.
In the City Centre area, Dominion Bar + Kitchen has suspended dine-in service. “We will remain open for delivery orders via Uber Eats, restaurant takeout orders, as well as continuing in-room dining service to our guests staying at Civic Hotel, Autograph Collection,” Dominion operators posted to Facebook on Tuesday.
In Guildford, The Taphouse is closed until further notice.
Elsewhere, the doors of Ocean Park Pizza and Village Pub are closed for now, operators announced Wednesday on Facebook.
“To properly accommodate the safety of both guests and staff, we have reduced our restaurants to pick-up and delivery service at this time. We endeavor to be in full operation as soon as your safety and well being allows. Thank you to the community and our staff for 42 years of unrelenting support, as we all enter this next chapter together.”
At the golf course in South Surrey, Morgans Restaurant and Wine Bar will be closed for at least two weeks, as of March 17. “For all of those with restaurant reservations, our team will be reaching out to you to confirm your cancellation,” operators of the restaurant said in an email.
– With a file from Ashley Wadhwani