Island Health alerted the public Tuesday to possible COVID-19 exposures at Mary’s Bleue Moon Cafe and 10 Acres Cafe & Market. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Head of local chamber says Sidney’s ‘complacent days are over’ after possible COVID-19 exposures

Local retail expert says possible exposures damage Sidney’s reputation

A local business leader said Sidney’s “complacent days are over” after warnings about possible COVID-19 exposures were issued this week.

Denny Warner, executive director of the Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, made that comment Wednesday morning after Island Health alerted the public Tuesday afternoon to possible COVID-19 exposures at two Sidney eateries. One of them – 10 Acres Cafe & Market at the Sidney Pier Hotel & Spa – is at the very centre of the community and is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. The other – Mary’s Bleue Moon Cafe near Victoria International Airport – is an iconic part of the local restaurant scene.

Warner said the recent exposures to COVID-19 are not unexpected. Low numbers of cases on the Island and the belief that Sidney was safe had lulled people into a false sense of security, he explained. “Businesses have to take their responsibility to protect customers seriously and visitors and residents have to take all appropriate steps to protect themselves from the virus.”

RELATED: Island Health warns of possible COVID-19 exposures at Sidney restaurants

Island Health warned of possible COVID-19 exposures at 10 Acres Cafe & Market on Aug. 20 and 21 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Possible exposures at Mary’s Bleue Moon Cafe include Aug. 21 between 4 and 9:15 p.m. and Aug. 22 between 9:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. and 5 to 10 p.m.

Mary’s Bleue Moon Cafe closed Tuesday evening for what it called a “deep cleaning and disinfecting” and remained closed Wednesday morning.

10 Acres Cafe & Market announced Tuesday on social media it would be closed through Wednesday for sanitation. “And out of an abundance of caution, our ‘10 Acres at The Pier’ restaurant in Sidney, will also be closed for service, for the same treatment,” it read.

Nick Hopkins, owner of Mary’s Bleue Moon Cafe confirmed a part-time employee tested positive. “We are working with [Island Health] and they believe the likelihood of transmission is very low given our practices,” he said. “At this point, they are not giving us any indication we should be worried. We have been advised we could stay open and continue to operate. We felt we should shut down and have a professional cleaning crew – which we use daily – come in and do a full, medical-grade sanitation of the entire area.”

Hopkins declined to say whether his employee was also working at 10 Acres Cafe & Market. “Due to confidentiality I can not comment on the employee in question,” he added.

Lisa Nordstrom, general manager at the Sidney Pier Hotel & Spa, said the business has contacted all hotel guests who stayed there during the possible exposures to let them know that there was a positive case.

“We have remained open for this entire time and worked very diligently with protocols and guidelines for how the hotel, spa and salon is managed during this.”

She noted anyone who visited the cafe should be aware and self-monitor for symptoms.

RELATED: Saanich Peninsula business leader calls for education campaign on social distancing

Richard Talbot, a long-time consultant for the Canadian retail industry, said the possible exposures “puts the kibosh on saying that we are a safe place to shop.”

Speaking with the Review earlier this week, Talbot had called for extra measures to be taken by local businesses. For example, in the cases of stores, patrons would be required to put on masks before entering.

“That would make those people who are dithering feel much more comfortable about coming here,” he said earlier this week. “We have a real opportunity to push that we are really safe or safe-as-you-can-get place. Compare it with what is going in downtown Victoria between the homelessness and COVID-19 and all the other problems, there is a competitive opportunity.”

That opportunity now appears to be gone, said Talbot, who fears that the community will suffer a loss of reputation against the backdrop of a fragile environment for many retailers and other businesses. “It is going to require a huge public relations effort.”

The Review reached out to management of the 10 Acres Restaurant Group but did not receive a reply by publication deadline.


Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Coronavirus

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

Just Posted

Oak Bay couple honoured for 35 years volunteering

Mayor awards distinguished Oak Leaf to Bert and Doris Dinsmore

Hospital foundation president praises generosity of Peninsula residents

Karen Morgan said support during COVID-19, financial and otherwise, has been touching

UPDATED: West Shore RCMP locate dangerous, ‘high-risk sex offender’ thanks to help of taxi cab driver

Scott Jones wanted on a Canada-wide warrant, ‘a risk to women and girls,’ police say

Meet the Liberal candidate for Oak Bay-Gordon Head

Roxanne Helme about ‘governance, not politics’

Sidney’s Cascadia Seaweed hopes to float to the top of a growing industry

Food products based on seaweed could hit local shelves in spring 2021

QUIZ: Do you know what’s on TV?

Fall is normally the time when new television shows are released

POLL: Do you agree with the decision to call a provincial election for Oct. 24?

British Columbians will put their social distancing skills to the test when… Continue reading

Canadian ski resorts wrestle with pandemic-vs.-profit dilemma as COVID-19 persists

Few are actually restricting the total number of skiers they allow on the hill

A (virtual) walk around the world by 88-year-old B.C. man

George Doi says it’s simple: ‘I like walking’

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

End of CERB means uncertainty for some, new system for others

As of a week ago, the CERB had paid out $79.3 billion to 8.8 million people

Horgan, Wilkinson trade barbs over MSP premiums, health care at campaign stops

Horgan called a snap election for Oct. 24 earlier this week

Most Read