Sales at Summerhill Pyramid Winery taking hit due to COVID-19 outbreak - InfoNews

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Sales at Summerhill Pyramid Winery taking hit due to COVID-19 outbreak

Image Credit: Summerhill Winery
March 08, 2020 - 7:00 AM

A Kelowna winery is accepting some losses as China remains on lockdown due to the COVID-19 virus.

There are some early signs that spring and summer tourism will be impacted at Summerhill Pyramid Winery due to the coronavirus outbreak.

China is also deterring its citizens from travelling to Canada due to the Chinese telecom Huawei dispute, winery CEO Ezra Cipes said.

“Things aren’t moving,” he said, adding that ports have been shut down so wine isn't being delivered, and they’ve seen a slow start to the tourist season since the beginning of the new year.

Exports to China are a significant part of the business, as ice wine and premium red wines sold to China represents roughly 15 to 20 per cent of gross sales, Cipes said, and thousands of people from China visit the winery each year.

Overall, Canada's tourism industry is bracing for the impact the virus will have on the number of foreign visitors this summer.

Some industry professionals are already seeing a change in the number of people coming from overseas, particularly from China — the second-largest long-haul market for Canada-bound tourists.

Around Kamloops and the Okanagan, businesses are also feeling the impact of the epidemic.

Walmarts in Kelowna, Penticton, Kamloops and Vernon have sold out of masks and hand sanitizer and they aren’t sure when these products will be available again.

Starbucks, Tim Hortons and McDonalds are no longer accepting reusable cups.

The respiratory illness, first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, continues to spread within China and is now affecting all provinces in the country, according to the Government of Canada website. The government is asking for Canadians to avoid all non-essential travel to China.

— With files from The Canadian Press

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