Orange traffic cones mark physical distance outside Moby Dick’s fish-and-chip restaurant on Marine Drive. On Monday, White Rock councillors noted concerns that some businesses along the city’s waterfront don’t seem to be doing enough to ensure patrons stay the recommended two metres apart while waiting to get inside. (Tracy Holmes photo)

Orange traffic cones mark physical distance outside Moby Dick’s fish-and-chip restaurant on Marine Drive. On Monday, White Rock councillors noted concerns that some businesses along the city’s waterfront don’t seem to be doing enough to ensure patrons stay the recommended two metres apart while waiting to get inside. (Tracy Holmes photo)

Social distancing on Marine Drive comes under council scrutiny

Councillors say some restaurants are ‘constant offenders’

In the wake of a weekend heatwave – and a rise in reported COVID-19 cases province-wide – some White Rock councillors were questioning city staff closely Monday night about how effectively social distancing is being managed on the city’s popular waterfront strip.

Concerns were voiced at council’s July 27 meeting about the waterfront in general and four restaurants – which council and staff did not name – perceived as coping poorly with social distancing protocols.

Coun. David Chesney also pin-pointed a side issue – that some pedestrians are stepping into traffic lanes on Marine Drive to skirt accumulations of restaurant patrons on the sidewalk.

“This is a recipe for disaster – it’s only a matter of time before somebody, perhaps a little child, gets clipped, so I think urgency is paramount,” he said.

“Overcrowding seems to be prevalent, still, in B.C. and even in White Rock,” Coun. Scott Kristjanson noted.

“I’ve noticed on many occasions when I go driving by or walking by the restaurants and the line-ups are very tight and not physically socially distancing,” he said.

“We were told that if that persisted that they would be spoken to and possibly (the city would) take away their licenses or something.”

Kristjanson further wondered whether restaurants are being reminded that they “need to ensure physical distancing in their line-ups.”

READ ALSO: White Rock re-opens promenade, increases waterfront parking

But planning and development services manager Carl Izaak – who also manages business licences and bylaw enforcement for the city – responded that “those conversations are happening.”

“I do know that, in the restaurant industry, we are hearing that maintaining staff to keep (up with) the current levels of customers … can be a challenge for them. Having that additional staff, which we’ve been requesting – to have people out reminding their own patrons to keep distancing – can be a challenge for some of them.”

Izaak said staff is continuing to work with restaurants to ensure that they have a “safe atmosphere” and that the White Rock BIA is also reaching out to businesses to suggest options for them such as providing digital menus for smart phones in place of traditional ‘menu boxes’ outside premises, to avoid people “bunching-up” on the sidewalk.

“When do you think we’ll actually see these measures taking effect?” Kristjanson asked. “Because I’d hate to see another weekend like the one we just saw, where everyone is crowding.”

Isaak responded that consultation with the restaurants on the issue was happening before the July 25-26 weekend, and follow-ups are ongoing.

But Coun. David Chesney was not satisfied that this was all the city can do.

“Are we going to rely solely on the BIA to convince these people – four constant offenders?” he asked.

“Why can they not, at the very least, get some kind of markings on their sidewalks to spread those people out?”

Izaak responded that there are problems finding the right kind of stickers to adhere to floors and sidewalks that are receiving a lot of traffic, adding that some fish-and-chip restaurants have taken to using orange traffic cones to mark off correct social distancing.

“It could be that those customers are then moving them…I think we can probably look to our colleagues in engineering to see what might be acceptable in terms of more semi-permanent markings, rather than stickers, which do tend to leave,” Izaak said.

READ ALSO: White Rock restaurateurs finding light during ‘dark time’ of COVID-19 pandemic

“Once we have a few of those options for restaurants in terms of marking up the city sidewalk, because it is our property generally where people are lining up, we would maybe approach those who don’t have something more permanent in place, to make that work.”

Chesney stressed the urgency of finding a solution.

“We have a very serious side-problem to that, and I’ve seen it all weekend long,” he said. “People walking along the sidewalk, they come to a large crowd of people and without looking or thinking they step onto the road to go around that gathering of people.

“If it takes a spray can to make some marks on the sidewalk, whatever it is, I hope your department is able to address this and address it immediately.”

“I think we’ve probably got five more big weekends before even school is supposed to go back in,” Mayor Darryl Walker observed.

“It would be nice if we could make sure that we reiterate our concerns to our business owners, and certainly we’ll talk to the BIA about that as well.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

CoronavirusWhite Rock

Just Posted

A mixed-use development with 69 market rental units and 10 commercial units is proposed for the 2300-block of King George Boulevard. (Thinkspace rendering)
Pair of South Surrey apartment proposals move forward

Council gives third reading to rezoning applications for market-rental and residential projects

Launched in January, Uplift Canada was founded by Tsawwassen resident Maggie Larocque. (submitted photo)
Surrey shelters get clothing collected June 26 by Uplift Canada

Book a pickup on website of the new non-profit, founded by Delta resident

Converter thefts have increased dramatically as the price of platinum has skyrocketed. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press photo)
Catalytic converter thefts continue to plague Delta

Police say the thefts are on the rise across the city, with seven incidents on Thursday, June 17

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

A search is underway for a 75-year-old fisherman who went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search continues for angler missing between Port Angeles and Victoria

Canadian, U.S. Coast Guard searching for 75-year-old man reported missing Thursday evening

Most Read