Charlie Don’t Surf’s Lael Ross prepares an indoor table Tuesday, May 25. (Aaron Hinks photo)

Charlie Don’t Surf’s Lael Ross prepares an indoor table Tuesday, May 25. (Aaron Hinks photo)

White Rock, South Surrey restaurants welcome indoor diners once more

Marine Drive one-way debate could be back on the table, says councillor

The debate over whether to turn Marine Drive into a one-way route might be back on the table now that the province has lifted restrictions on indoor dining – according to one council member, at least.

Tuesday afternoon, Premier John Horgan and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced the province’s four step restart plan.

Step one of the plan, which started May 25, allows indoor and outdoor dining at restaurants as long as there’s an existing WorkSafeBC safety plan in place. Restaurants are also to be mindful of table spacing and other COVID-19-related safety guidance, such as masks and physical distancing.

At its regular council meeting May 10, White Rock council voted to close the north lane of Marine Drive until the end of September. It was the second time council voted on the matter, resulting in a 6-1 decision.

The move was aimed at allowing waterfront restaurants more table space to offset a severe and continuing threat to the survival of the businesses as a result of provincial health orders banning inside dining. City staff recommended against the one-way option, citing safety concerns that included emergency vehicles not being able to access the area when it’s busy.

READ ALSO: White Rock council votes to make Marine Drive one-way route

READ ALSO: White Rock’s Marine Drive lane closure awaits traffic plan

Tuesday, Coun. Helen Fathers said the lifting of dining restrictions makes the one-way plan worthy of another council discussion.

Fathers, who initially voted against the proposal, then changed her vote when the motion was reconsidered, described it as an agonizing decision. It was the first time she has changed her vote during her four terms as councillor, she said.

“There’s significant amount of risk involved, so it absolutely changes my mind,” Fathers said of the restrictions being lifted. “I don’t know if there’s going to be enough votes to redo the decision, but I think with the indoor dining, I think the conversation needs to be rehashed, definitely.”

Fathers said she’s received both negative and positive feedback from White Rock residents on the decision to turn Marine Drive into a one-way, but “overwhelmingly, it was negative.”

The decision to lift indoor dining restrictions doesn’t change much for White Rock Mayor Darryl Walker, however.

“The intention with Marine Drive was not just about the lack of indoor dining, it really was designed to try and help the businesses climb back out of the hole that has been created by COVID,” Walker said Tuesday.

“The intention was to help facilitate putting the businesses back on their feet. My belief was, and certainly I believe that council’s direction was, that even if the indoor dining was reopened to whatever level, we will leave this in place for the period we agreed to.”

Walker said he does not yet have details of when Marine Drive will be turned into a one-way route, but expects it will be sometime in June.

Jan’s on the Beach owner Janet Wait said while she was happy the indoor dining restrictions were lifted, she was disappointed with the lack of notice.

Because restaurants were not given a heads-up, Wait was unable to prepare by stocking ingredients and meet staffing needs.

“People have things planned and we do our schedules two weeks in advance. You can say, can anybody come in tomorrow? We’re open… But people have lives, too, right,” Wait said.

Charlie Don’t Surf manager Kyle Grant was also grateful the restrictions were lifted. Grant said that Marine Drive seating, combined with indoor dining, brings Charlie’s up to 100 per cent of its pre-COVID-19 capacity.

Gradual reopening planned

Step two of the province’s four-part plan, beginning June 15, will allow for outdoor social gatherings of up to 50 people and play dates, but indoor gatherings will stay capped at five visitors or one additional household. Organized indoor gatherings up to 50 people will be allowed, while the province will begin to consult with various sectors about larger outdoor events. Masks will remain mandatory inside public spaces.

The third step, which is to start July 1, will see a “return to usual for indoor and outdoor personal gatherings.” July 1 is also when masks be recommended, rather than mandated.

Step four, the step we have all been waiting for, is expected to start Sept. 7.

If vaccination rates hit 70 per cent of eligible individuals, social gatherings will return to normal and large organized events can resume, as long as more than 70 per cent of B.C. is vaccinated, and if hospitalizations continue to drop.

The dates of each step is not set in stone. The dates will be pushed back depending on the number of COVID-19 cases, the number of people in hospital with COVID-19 and the number of people who have received at least one dose of vaccine.

City of White RockCoronavirusRestaurants

Just Posted

A new DPD team began targeting gang-related activity on May 15, including checking on individuals who must abide by curfews and conditions. (Delta Police Department photo)
15 arressted by Delta Police anti-gang team last week

Police seized a vehicle, debit/credit machine and 250 pre-packaged bags of various drugs June 9-12

Surrey City Hall. (File photo)
Surrey ranks eighth in Top-10 list of cities of the future in the Americas

This is according to the Financial Times’ fDi Magazine, a bi-monthly publication out of London, England with a circulation of 15,488

Kaushal Parikh raised $2,840 for COVID-19 relief in India during his almost nine-hour run around the new North Delta Secondary School track on Sunday, June 13, 2021. (Submitted photo)
North Delta ultramarathoner raises over $2,800 for COVID relief in India

Kaushal Parikh ran the 90-km virtual Comrades Marathon around the NDSS track in under nine hours

Preliminary site plan for a proposed 50-space childcare facility at Scott Road and 90th Avenue in North Delta. (Bunt & Associates image)
50-space childcare facility proposed for North Delta

Daycare proposed at Scott Road and 90th Avenue now headed to public hearing

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

The pilot of this single-engine propeller plane was unhurt after crash-landing in a Como Road orchard Friday, June 18. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Plane crash lands into Grand Forks orchard, pilot injured

RCMP have secured the crash site, pending investigation by Transport Canada

A tenant walks in front of her home on Boundary Road on Friday, June 18, 2021 after it was destroyed by fire the night before in Chilliwack. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Family homeless after fire rips through Chilliwack house

Turtle rescued, no one seriously hurt following Boundary Road fire in Chilliwack

BC Ferries’ newest Island Class vessel is experiencing an issue with one of its thrusters off the Algerian coast. Photo courtesy
BC Ferries newest vessel having mechanical issues in Mediterranean

Island 4 will be repaired in Spain before crossing Atlantic

Wild rabbits are all over Chilliwack, but people often think they’re someone’s lost pet and try to ‘save’ them. But the owner of Chilliwack’s Reptile Room says good intentions can have bad consequences for wild animals. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Owner of Chilliwack’s Reptile Room asks people to leave wild animals in the wild

Amber Quiring says people who think they’re helping are actually doing more harm than good

Thousands of protesters make their way through the downtown core during a Black Lives Matter protest in Ottawa, Friday June 5, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
MPs’ study of systemic racism in policing concludes RCMP needs new model

Chair of the House public safety committee says it’s time for a reckoning on ‘quasi-military’ structure

A case filled with packages of boneless chicken breasts is shown in a grocery store Sunday, May 10, 2020, in southeast Denver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-David Zalubowski
One million chickens euthanized during labour dispute at Quebec slaughterhouse

Premier says waste amounts to 13 per cent of the province’s chicken production thrown in the garbage

Premier of Manitoba Brian Pallister speaks at a news conference at the Manitoba Legislative Building in Winnipeg on Wednesday, April 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/David Lipnowski
Provincial leaders want more federal money for health care, plan to meet in fall

Premiers ask Ottawa to increase its share of overall health spending to 35 per cent from 22 per cent

Most Read