EDITORIAL – Kelowna’s virus outbreak proves need for extreme caution

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

IF THERE WAS ANY DOUBT about the wisdom of cancelling Canada Day, or about the need to not take anything for granted about COVID-19, look south to Kelowna.

Interior Health has issued a warning to anyone who attended certain gatherings in that city’s downtown and waterfront areas between June 25 and July 6 they may have been exposed to the virus. Positive cases have been identified from gatherings at a handful of resorts, restaurants and bars. Of particular concern are Canada Day and holiday weekend events.

Anyone who was at those events is being advised to monitor themselves closely for symptoms of the virus.

It has quickly become apparent that large gatherings continue to be opportunities for COVID-19 to launch new attacks. Bars and restaurants are especially susceptible.

When it comes to restaurants, there continues to be spotty performance on safeguards. In Kamloops, a lot of restaurants take the problem very seriously and do a good job but others, not so much. I ate at one restaurant recently in which hand sanitizers were readily available, all servers wore masks and face shields, patrons were kept well separated and tables and seats were carefully wiped down after each use.

At another one, though, the situation was much different, with none of the servers even wearing masks.

Bars are an even greater challenge. Good times require close interaction and it’s hard to enjoy a few drinks at a distance. Inhibitions are lowered, judgment becomes clouded, as a U.K. study has pointed out.

Several pubs there re-opened a week ago only to close again a few days later after customers or staff started showing positive on tests. This, after the U.K. was starting to make progress against the virus.

We face the same prospect of returning to lockdown if we aren’t careful. The Kelowna situation is a reminder that we don’t want to go there.

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at

About Mel Rothenburger (8481 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

2 Comments on EDITORIAL – Kelowna’s virus outbreak proves need for extreme caution

  1. Bob Gamble // July 15, 2020 at 8:06 AM // Reply

    After I submitted the above I stopped by the CNN site and come across the quote below. It is hard to imagine the US is head of us on masks. Although it isn’t clear from the quote “The change” mentioned is Walmart making masks monitory.

    “The change will start next week. Starbucks (SBUX)said last week that it will require customers to wear facial coverings or masks in all 9,000 of its company-owned US stores beginning Wednesday. Best Buy (BBY) announced Tuesday that it will also require all shoppers coming into its approximately 1,000 stores to wear face masks. Costco (COST) began requiring its members to wear masks in stores beginning in May.”

  2. Bob Gamble // July 15, 2020 at 7:39 AM // Reply

    I wonder if we haven’t dropped the ball on making masks monitory. The more we learn of the virus, more it becomes a no-brainer. The latest revelation is the virus is an airborne virus. One more reason to put on a mask.

    Hats of to Costco. All the staff wears masks. It’s just an observation but it appears the upside is many of the customers are also wearing them.

    It just isn’t the Kamloops Costco that is taking the threat seriously. I made my annual pilgrimage to Saskatchewan recently (yes it is still flat). At the Regina Costco, as you entered there is a staffer offering hand sanitizer and disposal masks. Surprize, surprize almost everyone was wearing one!

    Clearly Costco (and likely others) are setting by example. Where is the rest of the business community? Do we have to wait to have everything mandated?

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