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

At their April 20 board meeting, School District 83 trustees agreed to add a new option to the Long Range Facilities Plan, E6, which proposes two Grade 9-12 high school campuses, Sullivan and at Shuswap Middle School, with the Jackson campus becoming a Grade 6-8 middle school. (File photo)
School District 83 adds new option for Salmon Arm schools

No decision made on Long Range Facilities Plan, trustees considering more consultation

Salmon Arm City Councillor Chad Eliason, then-Mayor Nancy Cooper, then Coun.-Marg Kentel and BC Transit Sr. Regional Manager Steve Harvard and guests on board a local transit bus in December 2011 during a celebration marking 20 years of transit service in the area. (File photo)
Province follows transit tradition similar to Salmon Arm’s 15 years later

In 2006 the city introduced free bus rides for children and youth on all school and other holidays

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
54 more cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Thirty-two people in the region are in hospital with the virus, 11 of them in intensive care

Shuswap Middle School principal Sydney Griffith notified parents on Tuesday, April 20 that a member of the school community had tested positive for COVID-19. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)
Shuswap Middle School parents notified of new potential COVID-19 exposure dates

April 20 notice says member of school community tested positive for virus

A large crowd protested against COVID-19 measures at Sunset Beach in Vancouver on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. (Snapchat)
VIDEO: Large, police-patrolled crowds gather at Vancouver beach for COVID protests

Vancouver police said they patrolled the area and monitored all gatherings

Virtual meetings are taking a toll on local governance, according to multiple mayors in the North Okanagan. (Headway photo)
Virtual meetings leave North Okanagan politicians out of touch

More than a year of Zoom has led to a disconnect between officials, according to local mayors

Nick Trask, 36, and Ryan Ellison, 35, died in a boat collision on Osoyoos Lake in 2019. (Facebook photo)
Meth, excessive speed found as factors in 2019 Osoyoos boat crash deaths

Nick Trask, 36, and Ryan Ellison, 35, died in a boat collision on Osoyoos Lake in 2019

FILE – The Instagram app is shown on an iPhone in Toronto on Monday, March 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
Judge acquits B.C. teen boy ‘set up’ on sex assault charge based on Instagram messages

The girl and her friends did not have ‘good intentions’ towards the accused, judge says

Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei, walks down the street with an acquaintance after leaving B.C. Supreme Court during a lunch break at her extradition hearing, in Vancouver, B.C., Thursday, April 1, 2021. A judge is scheduled to release her decision today on a request to delay the final leg of hearings in Meng Wanzhou’s extradition case. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rich Lam
B.C. judge grants Meng Wanzhou’s request to delay extradition hearings

Lawyers for Canada’s attorney general had argued there is no justification to delay proceedings in the case

B.C. Premier John Horgan announces travel restrictions between the province’s regional health authorities at the legislature, April 19, 2021. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sees 862 more COVID-19 cases Wednesday, seven deaths

Recreational travel restrictions set to begin Friday

Kai Palkeinen recently helped a car stuck on the riverbed near the Big Eddy Bridge. While the car could not be saved, some of the driver’s belongings were. It’s common for vehicles to get stuck in the area due to significantly changing river levels from Revelstoke Dam. (Photo by Kai Palkeinen)
‘I just sank a car’: Revelstoke resident wants the Columbia River better protected

Although it’s not permitted, the riverbed near the city is popular for off roading

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson is photographed following her budget speech in the legislative assembly at the provincial legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. budget lacks innovative drive, vision during uncertain times, say experts

Finance Minister Selina Robinson’s budget sets out to spend $8.7 billion over three years on infrastructure

The City of Penticton is looking into the possibility of licensing certain public spaces to permit alcohol consumption during set hours. The city could see legal public drinking as early as June 5, 2020. (Monique Tamminga - Western News)
Booze on the beach set to make a comeback in Penticton for summer 2021

Penticton council gave the first three readings to bring back limited public drinking

Most Read