Sask. hospitality industry advocate encouraging operators, customers to follow health guidelines

Hospitality Saskatchewan is strongly encouraging operators and customers to adhere to the province’s public health guidelines.

The message from Hospitality Saskatchewan CEO Jim Bence comes after a video that was widely circulated on social media over the weekend shows guests at The Tap in Regina not wearing masks and not social distancing between tables. Regina Police say the video was allegedly taken on January 15.

Bence said it hurts everybody when the rules are not followed.

“That’s really becoming a flashpoint for operators,” he suggested. “They are very frustrated that they are spending the money and making sure they are following the guidelines while others aren’t. It’s just going to ruin it for everybody.”

He had this to say to both operators and customers as COVID-19 numbers continue to trend upwards in the province.

“Whether it’s us personally or whether we are businesses, we need to follow the health guidelines,” said Bence. “We have to do that, and if we don’t, it’s going to take us longer to get out of this mess.”

Bence did say the places he has visited during the pandemic have been following the guidelines, adding that some businesses have gone above and beyond to make sure safety is their priority.

Rebrand to Hospitality Saskatchewan

On Monday, the Saskatchewan Hotel and Hospitality Association rebranded to Hospitality Saskatchewan and changed its mandate to serve as the tourism industry association for the province.

The organization says it will be advocating for a more “diverse membership” that includes restaurants, conference and convention centres, tourism, cultural attractions and cannabis producers.

“When the pandemic hit, that’s when things really took a leap forward in the sense that the industry really needed that one point of contact for the government,” explained Bence.

“Since we are representing so many now in the tourism industry and visitor economy, it just made a lot of sense for us to really push towards this logical evolution to become a tourism association.”

He hopes this move will be able to provide a voice for businesses and companies that felt like they did not have a connection with government in the past.

The rebranding had been in the making for the last three years.


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