Despite COVID-19 worries, Okanagan, Kamloops eateries encourage locals to get out of the house - InfoNews

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Despite COVID-19 worries, Okanagan, Kamloops eateries encourage locals to get out of the house

March 16, 2020 - 6:00 AM

Restaurants, coffee shops and other eateries in the Okanagan and Kamloops are encouraging people to get out of the house and support local businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

David Upshaw, the owner of Canoe Coffee Roasters, is concerned about business but hopes the coffee shop will be supported by Kelowna.

Roughly 13 per cent of sales have dropped in the last week, he said, and he expects to see more losses as one of their main buyers at UBC Okanagan, Comma, will likely need fewer supplies as the university transitions to online classes.

Upshaw created an online ordering system where people can order online and pick up in-store. They’ve also ramped up their cleaning and sanitizing efforts. Although the cafe is still accepting reusable mugs, the drinks are made behind the counter and a jug is used to transfer the liquid to the mugs, he said.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Alrighty folks! It’s time for us to start swaying to the music of the COVID-19 risk reduction dance! If you are hesitant to go out but still need your coffee fix, WE GOT YOU! Online beverage ordering is here at canoecoffee.me - Place your order online for immediate (15 minute) or delayed pickup, then leave a comment in the NOTES section that you’ll be grabbing your drinks at the cafés side window. Pull up, walk over to the pickup window on the right side of the building, and snag your coffee with minimal exposure to other humans. Perfect! You can also use this system and come into the café for pickup if you’re in to seeing other humans, but just in a hurry. In that case, just come on in and grab your order at the bar :) Check out our story for more ways we’re trying to prevent the spread of illness at Canoe. Calm and healthy vibes from our crew to yours!

A post shared by Canoe Coffee Roasters (@canoecoffeeroasters) on

“I hope this isn’t going to affect us too much,” he said, adding that he has 10 young employees who need money for school and he has to pay his lease for the building.

“We’ve already seen some of my friends in Vancouver who are shutting down their cafes (in grocery stores,)” he said.

READ MORE: What you need to know about COVID-19 or Coronavirus

Ian Tostenson, president and CEO of the BC Restaurant and Food Services Association, said Okanagan restaurants will likely be impacted in the coming weeks.

In Victoria, restaurant activity is slowing down as the market is primarily senior citizens, he said. In downtown Vancouver, up until March 13, customers frequented establishments but large offices like Amazon are sending people home so restaurants are seeing that impact. He expects the slump to continue for the next four weeks.

“We’re bracing for the effects in the Okanagan now where we always expect that tourism bump, it’s likely not going to happen,” he said. “It’s very critical (time) for restaurants... and they’re very worried."

Yet, he said, restaurants are a great place to go to eat, since establishments are doubling-down on cleanliness.

“They’re there to serve and make it safe,” he said.

People should buy local, which will help suppliers and lessen the impact on local tourism, he said.

READ MORE: How EI benefits for COVID-19 quarantines will work

Sarah Roundell, manager at JOEY’s Kelowna location, is echoing Tostenson’s message.

“Anyone who is sick is not coming in,” she said, adding staff members are also staying home if any symptoms of a cold or flu are showing.

Employees are constantly washing their hands and new measures have been implemented that has staff sanitizing high traffic areas every hour, she said.

From a corporate level, new policies have been put in place in both the U.S. and Canada, she said, to ensure the safety of staff and customers.

Hannah Stainton, a Kamloops server, and said she’s more concerned about the impact the virus is having on business more than getting infected from someone.

“Everything gets cleaned regularly,” she said.

Kunak Chander, owner of Bean to Cup in Vernon, said the coffee shop has ramped up sanitizing efforts to ensure customers leave the store, cold, flu and COVID-19 virus free.

“We’re no longer accepting people’s own travel mugs,” he said, and added staff is also requesting that customers clear off their own plates.

Door handles are being disinfected regularly and as well as any high traffic area, he said.

The coffee shop is even offering to deliver its coffee and baked goods to those who don’t feel comfortable leaving the house.

Restaurants can help by ensuring there’s adequate space between tables and making sure staff wash their hands and sanitize often. Cleaning efforts should be visible to the public, he said.

The federal and provincial governments are also working to ensure that employees are supported if they have to stay home, or are laid off.

The federal government announced Wednesday that it would be making it easier for Canadians to receive EI payments as well as federal funding to support the province’s health care systems.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Carli Berry or call 250-864-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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