The president of a local service club, which was forced to close in late December for the third time during the COVID-19 pandemic, is calling the latest round of public health restrictions “discriminatory.”
Dave Moonen, president of Moose Lodge 1552 in Kamloops, has written to provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry regarding her Dec. 22 health order, which shuttered licensed premises without full meal service and cancelled events at those places.
Moonen told KTW the order is discriminatory because pubs remain open. Moonen noted that, while members cannot attend the Moose Lodge, at 730 Cottonwood Ave. in North Kamloops, members can attend pubs, where they can stay all day and are not obligated to order food.
“This makes no sense and is a sure case of discrimination against private clubs, who rely on their members to pay the bills,” Moonen said in his letter to Henry.
In addition, the club is seeking clarification as to whether it can operate its meat draws, which raise money for local charities like the Marjorie Willoughby Snowden Memorial Hospice Home.
In past years, the club has raised $16,000 for local charities through the ticket raffles.
“When we have held our ticket raffle meat draws at our lodge, we have numbered the tables and have only allowed one table at a time to purchase tickets,” Moonen wrote. “We hold our meat draws every Friday night from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and every Saturday, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. This procedure is no different than people lining up to buy pull tabs and Keno or poker tickets or going to the lotto centres.”
Moonen said the health orders impact not only Moose Lodge 1552 but also the Lions Club, the Royal Canadian Legion and the Army and Navy and Air Force clubs.
“The general public needs to know what they’re actually doing to the service clubs in this town,” Moonen said.
He said he wrote to Henry before Christmas and has not yet received a response. The health orders are in place until at least Jan. 18 and are a response to a rapid surge in cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.
Business owners appear to be increasingly frustrated over forced closures. A handful of fitness facilities in Kamloops have continued to operate in defiance of public health orders.
KTW has reached out to the Ministry of Health for comment.