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

‘Each step is a prayer’: Ojibwe man will walk from Hope to Vancouver Island for Indigenous healing, reconciliation

James Taylor departs Sept. 20, returns to Saanich in five days for sacred fire

COLUMN: We don’t need an election. But it’s 2020, so we’ll probably get one anyways.

There are only selfish reasons for the NDP to trigger an election this fall

Say ‘Hi’ to the mountains (and rain): The smoke is gone from the Fraser Valley, for now

Saturday’s Fraser Valley air quality forecast at ‘moderate risk,’ but morning showers leave skies clear

Machine pistol among 14 firearms seized from Alaska man at Abbotsford border crossing

Corey Scott Kettering faces charges of smuggling and prohibited firearm possession

CHARTS: Beyond Metro Vancouver, COVID-19 cases in B.C. haven’t increased much recently

COVID-19 case counts outside of Metro Vancouver have been level since July

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Air quality advisory ends for the Lower Mainland

It had been in effect since Sept. 8

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

70-year-old punched in the head in dispute over disability parking space in Nanaimo

Senior’s turban knocked off in incident at mall parking lot

Most Read