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Nov 30, 2021

Chamber Welcomes Increase In Capacity Limits

MEDIA RELEASE

November 30, 2021

 

CHAMBER WELCOMES INCREASE IN CAPACITY LIMITS

Kelowna: The Kelowna Chamber is relieved the province has responded to repeated requests to reconsider the 50% capacity limit that Interior Health had in place since the vaccine verification system was implemented.  Dr. Bonnie Henry announced the capacity increase for our region on Tuesday. It comes more than a month after metro Vancouver and Vancouver Island got the green light to increase capacity limits for arts events, movie theatres and sporting events.

“We have no doubt this will be welcome news among the arts and sports organizations that have been challenged to manage with reduced numbers, “says Chamber Chair Jeffrey Robinson. “We’re also excited about the prospect of the Rockets having a big crowd on hand for their next home game against the Vancouver Giants tomorrow night.”  (Dec 1, 2021)

This is positive news that will give a little boost to our economy in the short term and allow for planning of future arts events, concerts, and conferences knowing that they are now more viable with venues at 100% capacity. That will encourage more event related tourism that will help local organizations raise funds while bolstering our economy come next summer as business travel and tourism start to pick up again.

“The Kelowna Chamber has been one of the strongest voices in making the case that if everyone has to be fully vaccinated to attend these events then why would there be different rules in different parts of the province,” says Dan Rogers, Executive Director. 

The Kelowna Chamber made it clear with government officials that we didn’t believe the rationale for continued regional restrictions made sense. The restrictions were threatening many not-for-profit organizations, arts and culture groups, and sports organizations which in most cases were experiencing significant lost revenue and economic activity.  Ironically, many of those organizations have been the most proactive when it comes to ensuring the health and safety of their customers and employees.

A recent letter from Kelowna Chamber Board Chair Jeffrey Robinson to Health Minister Adrian Dix implored the province to increase capacity limits in the interior or consider providing financial support for those organizations being adversely impacted by this regional restriction on those who are fully vaccinated.

As we wrote in our Nov. 21st letter to the BC Health Minister:

We appreciate that the situation among the general population varies from region to region but what we are talking about is a defined segment of the population that is fully vaccinated. Are we to draw from this situation that someone who is fully vaccinated and attending a Western Hockey League game is more likely to transmit the virus than someone jammed into Rogers Arena to watch the Canucks?

It is important to note that many of these organizations had expected capacity limits to automatically increase when they agreed to implement and enforce the province’s proof of vaccination system. That expectation was, in part, the result of the province suggesting implementation of the proof-of-vaccination mandate would result in increased capacity limits. Despite the challenges and costs borne by businesses and organizations because of this requirement, the majority supported the effort as the means to return to full capacity. Unfortunately, that promise did not materialize in our part of the province until December 1.

“We want to thank the province for making this adjustment and we also know our three local MLAs were doing everything possible to raise this issue in Victoria. We want to thank them for their dedication on this file,” said Rogers.

For more information: 
Jeffrey Robinson, Chair, Kelowna Chamber of Commerce: jrobinson@rihlaw.com
Dan Rogers, Executive Director, Kelowna Chamber of Commerce: dan@kelownachamber.org