What will Metro Vancouver’s ‘new normal’ look like after the pandemic?

Courtyards instead of parking lots, wine and cheese in public parks, antimicrobial copper fixtures on buses, paperless financial transactions, it all looks like it could be here to stay

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On Father’s Day last June, Iani Makris slowly roasted a lamb on a rotisserie in front of his Gastown restaurant in a temporary yard where cars used to park, a yard like the ones that emerged in Metro Vancouver townships when the pandemic broke out. seized of.


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Family, friends and regulars later enjoyed the succulent lamb provided by the Greek Gastown, a feast that had been turned by hand and cooked over a continuous fire for about six hours as the few tourists there stopped to take photos.

Makris and other restaurant owners, depending on where they are in Metro Vancouver, can now move on knowing that their new or expanded patios are here forever, one of the many changes COVID-19 imposed on us in BC that now seem to have become permanent.

Patio party

The Vancouver City Council approved these permanent courtyards last week.

“Additional outdoor real estate is always a hit in this city, weather permitting, of course,” said Makris, who has expanded his family property in North Vancouver.Greek of Anatoli‘to Gastown and Yaletown.


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Both Vancouver and the city of North Vancouver have done a wonderful job of recognizing which restaurants needed during the summer, Makris said, and she had always hoped that the new outdoor spaces would become permanent.

“They have been a success,” said Makris.

Anatoli Souvlaki's owner, Iani Makris, on the patio of his restaurant in North Vancouver.
Anatoli Souvlaki’s owner, Iani Makris, on the patio of his restaurant in North Vancouver. Photo by Jason Payne. /PNG

Tested metal

TransLink was the first shipping agency in North America to test copper for its abilities to fight viruses and bacteria, and found that the metal was 99.9 percent effective at killing bacteria within one hour of contact.

Together with Vancouver Coastal Health, UBC and Teck Resources, TransLink is entering Phase 2 of copper test on some of its buses and SkyTrains, using materials approved by Health Canada for copper antimicrobial properties.


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“This project grew out of the pandemic and the need to see how we can keep our system safer and cleaner,” said TransLink spokeswoman Tina Lovgreen. “If anything, the pandemic has taught us that we must be innovative, creative and adaptable.”

“The results have been reassuring,” he said. Dr. Marthe Charles, division chief of medical microbiology, and of Prevencion and control of infections at Vancouver Coastal Health, discussing the early phases of studies placing copper on high-contact surfaces.

Phase 2 of the pilot project adds a laboratory study to see if copper can kill viruses like SARS-CoV-2.

“The mechanism of activity of copper towards viruses is a little different (from how it kills bacteria) and there are a lot of things that we are still learning,” said Charles. “I’m excited that Phase 2 has finally launched and I can’t wait to see the results.”


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Before the pandemic, take-out could have accounted for about 15 percent of a restaurant’s business, according to Ian Tostenson, president and CEO of the BC Restaurant and Food Service Association.

But many restaurants now plan for that number to double to about 30 percent of the food and beverages they prepare, Tostenson said.

“Looking back, (the takeout) wasn’t a big deal, but it was there,” he said. “During the pandemic, we learned how wonderful it was to order good food and enjoy it at home.

“It represents a lot of business now and it is not going away.”

Hats off, he added, to the provincial government for limiting fees for food delivery companies and for allowing liquor to accompany food deliveries, allowing restaurateurs to be creative and offer meal and cocktail kits. and wine pairings for meals.


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Park it

Linda Buchanan, who as mayor of the city of North Vancouver, guided through the first municipal policy of drinking in public parks in Canada outside of Quebec. She is delighted with the way the policy has been received.

“It worked very, very well,” Buchanan said. “It became permanent last fall and has exceeded all expectations we had. People really accepted it, it got great feedback from the community. “

The idea of ​​allowing alcohol consumption in parks was guided, with a nod to treating adults as adults, by the desire to allow people to safely congregate outside, where it is easier to physically distance themselves.

“We want you to be outside. We want him to connect with people, ”Buchanan said.

There are a handful of Metro municipalities, including Vancouver, PoCo, and West Van, that now allow the practice as well.


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“COVID allowed us to do some things that we wanted to do anyway,” Buchanan said. “And I couldn’t be more proud of my community, of myself as a resident, of how people embraced it and behaved.”

Moving on to mobile

Many venues have introduced timed ticketing, such as the recent Imagine Van Gogh exhibition that just ended and you will not be admitted if you arrive later than your entry time.

The Vancouver Aquarium and Science World also have scheduled tickets, while places like BC Place accept tickets only on mobile platforms and do not accept cash at concessions or equipment stores within the stadium.

Masked visitors at the Vancouver Aquarium.
Masked visitors at the Vancouver Aquarium. Photo by Jason Payne. /PNG

“For those who don’t have a mobile payment method, we’ve also implemented a cash-to-card system, so basically you buy a gift card for the venue, which you can use on food and beverages,” BC. The venue’s events director and assistant general manager Jenna Visram said recently when the stadium reopened after 529 days of vacuum.

Also, you may want to start getting used to putting your belongings in a clear bag if you want to take them to places.

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