B.C.’s small businesses fear cold Christmas amid surging COVID-19 cases

B.C.’s small businesses fear cold Christmas amid surging COVID-19 cases

Friday was day one of B.C.’s new province-wide mask mandate in indoor public spaces, and businesses are hoping it can cool COVID-19 numbers enough to get shoppers back through the door.

In Kitsilano, at Bruno’s Corner Cafe, owner Bruno Papa said it was mostly smooth sailing under the new order.

Read more: Coronavirus: How will British Columbia’s new mask requirement be enforced?

“We had a lot of people who would wear masks prior to the mandate, but first thing this morning we obviously had a couple that weren’t happy with it and threatened never to come back,” he said

“But they’ll be back. There’s no where you can go without a mask.”

That universal application was one of the driving forces behind the business community’s push to have the mandate implemented, and on Thursday, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry acknowledged it was a key reason she reversed course and gave the order.

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Papa, like many small business owners in the province, is struggling just to pay the bills — with limited indoor seating, bans on social gatherings, and consumers jittery about rising case numbers.

4:29 Reaction to B.C.’s sweeping new COVID-19 restrictions
Reaction to B.C.’s sweeping new COVID-19 restrictions

The coming holiday season, usually a money-maker, is currently a big question mark.

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“Hopefully a few months down the road this will be a memory,” he said.…

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