Vancouver public spaces empty out amid call for social distancing
Store owners see a drop in business due to fears around COVID-19
Amid calls for social distancing due to the spread of COVID-19, Metro Vancouverites are taking heed.
Many public spaces around the region saw a drop in foot traffic, leaving eerily empty stores, plazas and food courts.
Ralf Dauce, the owner of The Soup Meister in North Vancouver's Lonsdale Quay Market, says there's been a 15 to 20 per cent drop in traffic to his business.
"The last couple of weeks, the overall business in the afternoon … has slowed down a little bit," Daus said, adding people were choosing to buy more takeaway products than staying and eating.
"I find that people mingle a little bit less than they used to, especially on the weekends."
Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.'s provincial health officer, has recommended British Columbians practise social distancing in order to restrict or stop the spread of the virus. This includes reducing or cancelling large public gatherings and events and avoiding close contact in public spaces.
The Aberdeen Centre in Richmond B.C., which had already experienced a slowdown in traffic earlier this year after news of COVID-19 spreading in China kept customers away, continues to see fewer patrons.
Michael Sun, owner of Lotus Seats in the Aberdeen Centre, says it has been 30 per cent slower than normal since the Chinese New Year.
"It's the coronavirus," Sun said, adding most people are just staying at home.
Henry, who has been the public face of B.C.'s response to the virus, said it was important to note these social distancing measures are temporary.
"These are measures for now. They are not forever," she said.
"These are things we think are incredibly important for all of us in society as ways to stop the spread, to slow down [so]....we can prevent transmission to those who are most vulnerable, so we can protect our health-care system."
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