The Penticton Chamber of Commerce is asking the province to show proof that supports the current restrictions and capacity limits placed on businesses.
In a letter sent to the B.C. government, the Penticton chamber also wants the government to work with businesses and find ways they can remain open safely instead of ordering forced closures.
After closing fitness gyms, dance studios and yoga gyms on Dec. 22, the provincial government announced that fitness places can reopen Jan. 20 if certain conditions were met. But existing restrictions for gatherings, sports, events, bars and banquet facilities will remain the same until at least Feb. 16.
“This last wave of Omicron has left some industries wondering why they were targeted with closure restrictions,” said Jonathan McGraw, president of Penticton Chamber of Commerce.
“As a result, we ask that the province provide more clarity around new orders if or when new restrictions are implemented.”
Orders keeping liquor-primary bars and nightclubs closed remain in place, as well as 50 per cent capacity limits for stadiums and theatres.
When fitness gyms were closed, Dr. Bonnie Henry didn’t provide data requested showing that gyms were a source of COVID-19 spread.
The chamber also wants the government to initiate a process that actively engages with businesses and finds a way for them to remain operating while ensuring public health and safety rather than imposing restrictions, said a press release from the chamber.
All businesses need to plan for their future. Not knowing from week to week if the business can remain open, do they need staff and will there be enough revenue to pay the staff and rent are tough questions for businesses owners and play a huge factor on their health and wellness, said the chamber in their release.
“As we enter our third year of restrictions, some small businesses in the service industry are stretched to their credit limit, if they have any credit available to them at all. The survival of these businesses is an important part of our recovery. We need these businesses not just for our economic recovery, but also our mental recovery.” said McGraw
The chamber said it will be sharing their concerns and the need for action with Penticton MLA Dan Ashton.