Okanagan COVID-19 exposures stressing out employees as businesses temporarily close | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Okanagan COVID-19 exposures stressing out employees as businesses temporarily close

July 20, 2020 - 3:18 PM

A growing list of Okanagan business are either closing temporarily or putting out notices that they may have been impacted by Kelowna’s COVID-19 community exposure events over the past few weeks.

Some have closed because a staff member tested positive but others in the same circumstance have remained open. Some have been told that a customer may have visited on certain dates so are warning customers or closing their doors briefly.

Interior Health is not giving out any information on what businesses, or even how many businesses, may have been impacted by the virus that had spread to 35 Okanagan residents by last Friday. It was initiated by a group of infected people at private parties who also went to local businesses between June 25 and July 6.

READ MORE: UPDATE: 12 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health region

Getting that close to the potentially fatal virus has been stressful for one of the people out of work for a couple of days because the business she works for has temporarily closed. The employee didn't want to be identified because she is not authorized to speak for her employer.

“I think people deserve to know what’s going on,” she said. “If we had a staff member that was positive, or had come into contact with someone and I didn’t know about it, that would put me at risk because I wouldn’t know that I had possibly come in contact with a positive case. I feel people need to know what’s going on so they can act accordingly."

COVID-19 seemed to be on the wane in B.C. so bars and restaurants reopened but the Kelowna community contacts have been a harsh reminder that the disease is not far away.

“Up until we started getting a lot of cases in Kelowna, I wasn’t as concerned about it as I am now,” the employee said. “It made it feel more real and closer to home, which I think is going to influence my future behaviour. I’ll be more aware in general how I act around other people and how other people are acting whenever I’m in public.”

She does feel her employer is doing a good job of protecting workers and that most of the customers are very good about safe distancing and taking other precautions and her co-workers are very strict in enforcing the rules.

Initially, the public was warned by Interior Health that people with COVID-19 had gone to the Cactus Club and the Spin Club. Since then the health authority has not named any other businesses where there might have been suspected cases. Those reports have all come from the businesses themselves.

READ MORE: Kelowna businesses taking COVID-19 scare seriously

The Train Station Pub in Kelowna has now said one of their staff members tested positive so it’s closed.

JoieFarm Winery in Naramata has closed its tasting room even though no customers or staff are suspected of being infected.

"Until we receive clarity on the severity and scope of outbreaks in the region, we will remain closed for the safety of our community and staff," the winery said in a Facebook message sent to iNFOnews.ca.

READ MORE: South Okanagan winery temporarily closes due to COVID-19 concerns

Businesses that have either put out notices or closed include Poplar Grove Winery, Quails' Gate Estate Winery, Rustic Reel Brewing Company, Train Station Pub and World Gym. The Krazy Cherry Fruit Company outbreak in Oliver is also linked to the Kelowna events.

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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