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Eateries not worried about toned-down public playoff events

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Bars and restaurants aren’t worried about plans to scrap big screen public viewing areas for Canucks playoff games. Many of the businesses that capitalized on big crowds downtown last year don’t believe the changes will impact their bottom lines. 

This spring, Vancouver will stage smaller block parties and will set up community centres as family-friendly spots to catch the games. 

Ian Tostenson with the BC Restaurant and Food Services Association says crowds that filled the streets to watch games last year were not the same people buying drinks and meals at nearby establishments.

“Two very distinct crowds; you had the street-crowd, and then those that wanted to be in a restaurant/bar, so no we’re not concerned about it at all,” he explains.

He is also confident in the move towards safer celebrations. Tostenson suggests taking large crowds off the streets will help control drunken, unruly behaviour.

“Bars and restaurants have a huge responsibility from a serving it right, liability point of view. So, you’re going to have people that are a lot more ‘supervised’ in a drinking environment than you would if they were on the streets,” says Tostenson.

He expects the turnout at downtown eateries could even increase without the live site alternatives. “What was starting to happen last year is that people started staying away. It was getting too busy.”

He adds a Canucks playoff game can double the business at some BC restaurants and bars, compared to non-game nights. 

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