Bernard Avenue sees decline in foot traffic after Kelowna COVID-19 outbreak | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Bernard Avenue sees decline in foot traffic after Kelowna COVID-19 outbreak

Downtown on Bernard Avenue.
July 24, 2020 - 2:00 PM

With the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases in Kelowna, businesses along Bernard Avenue are reporting a decrease in traffic this week.

Delight Cowen with the Downtown Shoe Store said the first two weeks that Bernard Avenue was open to just foot traffic, she had no issues, but lately with the announcements of COVID-19 exposures in the community, she's seen a decline in customers.

"We actually increased our revenue by 200 per cent from last year for the first two weeks of July, and June was fabulous too. It’s just this last week, nine days,” she said. “It scared people so now they’re back home again. We’re down to about 30 per cent of what our sales were last year.”

“So it’s unfortunate,” Cowen said.

READ MORE: Education, not enforcement, focus of Kelowna’s new COVID-19 patrols

A couple uses the open road along Bernard Avenue to cycle.
A couple uses the open road along Bernard Avenue to cycle.

Lakehouse Home Store has seen less foot traffic in the last week, but sales have been steady overall compared to last year’s numbers, operations manager Travis Pye said.

“Whatever we’re lacking in the locals coming down, I think it’s making up for in tourists,” he said.

While some businesses are seeing less customers, the City of Kelowna’s numbers shows there has been an increase in foot traffic this year compared to last year despite COVID-19. Foot traffic along Mill Street and Bernard Avenue peaked on July 4, with 25,856 people counted, according to data from the city.

READ MORE: Possible COVID-19 exposure at Kelowna clothing store

After the July 4 peak, there has been a decline with 10,358 recorded July 21.

“While the traffic did drop after the COVID-19 announcements, which has been acknowledge by a few of the businesses downtown, we’re still on average 5,000 pedestrians a day higher than the same time last year,” Downtown Kelowna Business Association executive director Mark Burley said.

Image Credit: SUBMITTED / City of Kelowna

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said during her COVID-19 update yesterday that over 1,000 people in every health authority in B.C. are self-isolating because they had been exposed to the virus and a "good proportion" of those were exposed at parties and events that happened over the past few weeks in the Central Okanagan, particularly in and around Kelowna.

“Today we know that over 1,000 people in every health authority across our province are self-isolating because they have been exposed to COVID-19,” Dr. Henry said during her COVID-19 update today, July 23. “A good proportion of those people were exposed at parties and events that have happened, over the past few weeks, in the Central Okanagan, particularly in and around Kelowna.

Next week, the City of Kelowna is sending teams out to parks, boat launches, beaches, recreation facilities and other gathering places to educate people the importance of safe distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As of July 22, 78 B.C. residents who have tested COVID-19 positive are are linked to the community exposure in Kelowna, 66 of whom are in the Interior Health region. The others are in the Vancouver Coastal and Fraser Health regions.


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