Patricia Berry of the Chemainus Public Market. Outdoor seating will be available for eating and coffee during the current restrictions. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Patricia Berry of the Chemainus Public Market. Outdoor seating will be available for eating and coffee during the current restrictions. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Opinion: Regional approach to restrictions would be the best solution

Restrictions must be implemented more harshly in the areas with the most COVID cases

This may have seemed like a bad joke heading into April Fool’s Day, but it’s not for an abundance of small businesses in our communities.

The latest restrictions put in place Monday due to rising COVID numbers are going to further cripple our bars and restaurants, in particular, even if it is potentially only for the three-week period announced Monday and does not, in fact, get extended further.

All food and liquor-serving premises are back to Square One in many ways with inside dining suspended and only take-out or delivery service allowed. Not every restaurant or bar has an outside patio to maintain some clientele.

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The fitness industry continues to be heavily impacted with all group activities paused, as gyms and training centres will be restricted to individual or one-on-one-sessions.

Churches were just preparing for Easter Sunday services indoors, but now can only do so outdoors. Churches haven’t had in-person gatherings for months so can’t be tabbed as a spreader of the virus.

The biggest question that remains is why haven’t restrictions worked? Is this extra shutdown going to make any difference?

People in small business are getting choked about being so limited in what they can do while the large warehouse and department stores carry on as if nothing has happened with hundreds of people shopping in close confines.

Yes, there’s that essential service component but you have to wonder if it isn’t time to restrict their numbers.

Shutting down the Whistler and Blackcomb ski resort is the first acknowledgement that something needs to be done with certain aspects of travel where case counts are high.

People are advised again to only travel if it’s necessary, but as long as that loophole exists, it will be abused.

What needs to happen now, in B.C. anyway, is a regional approach to restrictions. The Fraser Valley and Vancouver Coastal have by far the greatest number of cases so those zones need to be affected by guidelines the most. It’s not right to put a tight rein on other areas that don’t have very many cases.

It’s the only way we’re going to bring transmissions down and move forward.

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The Playbill Dining Room at the Chemainus Theatre had only reopened for one weekend before being forced to close again. (Photo by Don Bodger)

The Playbill Dining Room at the Chemainus Theatre had only reopened for one weekend before being forced to close again. (Photo by Don Bodger)

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