Physically distanced tables and messages on the projector screens remind guests of COVID-19 safety protocols at Royal King Palace in Surrey. (Photo: Royal King Palace/Facebook)

B.C. banquet halls want help from provincial, federal governments

Associaton president says halls ‘don’t have any means of paying any bills’

The B.C. Banquet Hall Association president says it needs some type of relief “to carry us through this time.”

On Sept. 8, in Health Minister Adrian Dix and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced that all bars, nightclubs and banquet halls would be closed until further notice.

READ ALSO: B.C. to shut down nightclubs, banquet halls; limit late-night alcohol sales at bars, Sept. 8, 2020

“I use orders as a last resort… we do it for things where we know it will make a difference,” said Henry.

Henry said the closures come after it became clear that banquet halls and nightclubs became “high-risk places” that were unable to bring in enough safety measures to keep guests safe. However, she said that a curfew has not been considered.

Sukh Mann, the association president, told the Now-Leader Thursday (Sept. 10) that because banquet halls are standalone businesses, they “don’t operate with any other source of business that we can generate revenue from.

“We don’t have any means of paying any bills. It would be a different story if we could multi-use our space if we were a cultural centre.”

He said they are “specialty businesses, and the problem is they are expensive businesses.”

The association, according to Mann, is made up of 18 banquet halls in the Lower Mainland.

He added that some halls have monthly mortgage payments between $10,000 and $15,000, while others are between $40,000 and $50,000.

In order to help keep the business stay afloat for the foreseeable future, Mann said the association is asking for help from the federal and provincial governments.

“How long is it going to be before the bank says, ‘OK, I don’t care what your situation is, pay me my money.’ What’s the landlord going to say, how long is he going to wait.”

He said he’s talked to local MLAs and MPs, but said he has been unable to get help on the matter.

The Now-Leader has reached out to local MLAs and MPs.

“We don’t even know how long we’re shut down for,” said Mann. “We don’t know what’s going to happen. Obviously, the weddings are booked for next year. I have so many parties booked for next year and 2022. I don’t know what to do right now. We’re all looking for answers as well.”

He said the banquet halls had been staying open as a “community favour” so people wouldn’t throw parties for large groups in their homes.

“One week I had seven parties booked; five of them cancelled because they can’t dance,” said Mann, adding that the partygoers would just set up at home instead.

“There’s no COVID rules (there).”

This comes on the heels of the association putting out a release Aug. 23 stating “Banquet Halls in BC Want Government to Shut Them Down.”

READ ALSO: Shut us down, banquet hall owners ask B.C. government, Aug. 24, 2020

But Mann insists that the intention of the release was to highlight all of the restrictions in place at that time that the government “might as well shut us down.”

He said the industry was “already struggling” with the limit of 50 people per party, and the association wanted the provincial government to instead consider allowing 50 per cent capacity.

– With files from Tom Fletcher

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Lauren on Twitter


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Construction underway for new Cloverdale elementary school

The $33 million school is to seat 655 students

George Garrett retires from Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society board

Society completes more than 58,000 trips since 2016

B.C. families financially affected by pandemic eligible for grocery gift cards

Program open to struggling families in Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley communities

Two Surrey schools report COVID-19 exposures, including second contact for Panorama Ridge

Fraser Health has created a new webpage listing COVID-19 cases in schools

B.C. or Ontario? Residential school survivors fight move of court battle

It’s now up to Ontario’s Court of Appeal to sort out the venue question

B.C. transportation minister will not seek re-election

Claire Trevena has held the position since 2017

Young B.C. cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

VIDEO: Shots fired outside Langley gas station that was scene of 2018 homicide

No reports of injuries in Saturday evening incident

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Air quality advisory ends for the Lower Mainland

It had been in effect since Sept. 8

Most Read