Kelowna restaurant adds temperature checks to the menu | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kelowna restaurant adds temperature checks to the menu

Bohemian Cafe servers Noah Peters and Cara Spelliscy show how they check customers' temperatures before they're seated.
June 21, 2020 - 8:00 AM

While most restaurants that re-opened after the forced COVID-19 lockdown are practicing safe distancing and extra cleaning, Kelowna’s Bohemian Café has an added safety measured — temperature checks for customers.

Staff point a hand-held thermometer at people’s foreheads as they come into the downtown café.

“It’s definitely interesting,” Michael Stubley said as he sat at one of the café’s patio tables with a couple of friends earlier this week. “At least they’re doing their due diligence.”

Like many preventative measures, temperature checks are a tricky tool which might be helpful — but also might not. There’s certainly no requirement to take customers’ temperatures though it’s being phased in as a requirement for all air travellers in Canada.

Bohemian general manager Jeff Brown said he hoped the extra step helps people feel more comfortable. 

“We do it for our staff, to make our staff feel a little more comfortable and to keep them healthy and safe so we just decided to do it for customers,” told iNFOnews.ca. “It’s not really mandated or anything. It’s just a suggestion.”

The B.C. Restaurant and Foodservices Association has posted a guidebook for re-opening on its web site that includes best practices for restaurants.

“All staff will have a pre-shift health check in the form of mandatory temperature checks,” it states in the section on worker safety. WorkSafeBC guidelines for restaurant re-openings does not mention temperature checks and the province does not recommend it.

“The Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, has stated that temperature screening is not particularly helpful because we know, with this virus, people can have very mild symptoms,” the B.C. Ministry of Health stated in an email. “Although some people may exhibit a fever due to COVID-19, not having a fever does not necessarily mean you are safe. You can have other symptoms that might be indicative of being sick that temperature screening would not catch. The most important thing is for people to recognize and stay home if they are not feeling well.”

Bohemian Café staff don’t screen customers for other symptoms but do take one phone number from each table so contact tracing can be done if need be.

So far, no staff or customer has recorded an elevated temperature. If they did, staff have been instructed to call Brown or an assistant manager who would have a chat with the customer and suggest they seek medical help.

Right now, the café is operating at 50 per cent capacity and, as such, is almost always full with a waiting list, Brown said.

It’s in the final stages of getting approval for five more tables on Bernard Avenue when it closes to traffic for the summer.

Even so, that won’t make up for the nine inside tables that have to sit unused in order to comply with safe distancing rules.

Brown will review the temperature-taking practice and procedures with his staff in a couple of weeks with the intent of continuing to take temperatures of customers using those patio seats.

The B.C. Restaurant and Foodservices Association's blueprint for reopening can be seen here.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 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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