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Kamloops restaurants will survive if we all support them, business leaders say

Image Credit: ADOBE STOCK
March 30, 2021 - 8:00 PM

Increased public health orders have the Kamloops restaurant community worried, but business leaders are taking it head on with resilience and hashtags.

Leaders at both Downtown Kamloops and the North Shore Business Improvement Association are frustrated at the return of dine-in closures in B.C., while restaurants are continuing to recover since last year's restrictions.

“For this to happen a year on is devastating,” Jeremy Haighton, executive director of the North Shore business association, said.

Many restaurant owners have taken on debt and incurred extra costs to keep their doors open, but going through these restrictions all over again might just be a step too far for some, according to Haighton.

Carl De Santis, executive director of Downtown Kamloops, took to social media yesterday to remind people that these restaurants are open and encouraged the use of take-out and delivery options.

“It’s frustrating for the business community, especially restaurant owners, but they are not shut down,” De Santis said to iNFOnews.ca. “The onus is on all of us to support local. And once enhanced patios are in, that will offer more solutions.”

Enhanced patios will also be paired with temporary and rotating block closures in downtown Kamloops this year. De Santis is looking forward to how the pedestrian-friendly initiative will affect consumers.

The plan is to close certain blocks downtown on Fridays and Saturdays to both increase pedestrian traffic and improve patio usage, which was approved by Kamloops city council in November 2020.

For now, full patio usage will have to wait until the weather gets warmer, and Haighton said Interior restaurants are having a harder time when compared to those on the coast, where they can benefit from more temperate conditions.

“The hope is that in mid-April, (Dr. Henry) will come to understand that not all regions are painted equally,” Haighton said. “For now, some of our members might choose to shut their doors until (April 19), but we will support those who choose to stay open as much as we can.”

On the Tranquille corridor, however, block closures are not possible like they are downtown.

"The Tranquille corridor is a single ribbon and arterial route. While we can close for a specific event, the downtown concept wouldn't work here," Haighton said. He did add that alternatives are being considered to increase pedestrian traffic around businesses on the North Shore, but those plans are still in the works and he could not offer specific details.

Until the renewed dine-in restrictions are revisited on April 19, the two business districts are implementing ad campaigns to encourage local people to support local restaurants as their tables remain closed.

With the hashtags #downtowntogo and #dinetheshore, the business leaders are hoping their campaigns will keep local restaurants in the minds of local foodies who must return to dining at their own tables.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Levi Landry or call 250-819-3723 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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