A Port Coquitlam councillor is taking heat after heading out for a night on the town with several friends and then Tweeting about it.
Coun. Steve Darling has since removed his tweet in which he posted a photo of a group of people gathered around a large table at an unidentified local establishment, smiling with beers in hand.
“Sure enjoyed getting out last night with 5 couples,” Darling said in his post. “We went to three locations in Port Coquitlam supporting their businesses. We were safe, well fed and we were not alone. Thanks to all those who support their neighbours.”
While Darling subsequently deleted his post, the backlash was immediate and ongoing, as several posters accused him of being “tone deaf,” “embarrassing” and “irresponsible.”
In an email, Darling told The Tri-City News he was just trying to say “we had a nice time out with friends,” but, he acknowledged “as the situation is always changing, we plan to make sure we adapt as needed.”
Saturday, B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, encouraged people to go outdoors and spend time with their families, but to do so in small groups.
Some restaurants, like New Westminster’s El Santo and its sister operation, Amanranthus, have moved tables further apart to reassure patrons they can maintain their “social distance” while dining out. The practise of people staying at least two metres apart has been identified by health professionals as one way to minimize opportunities for exposure to the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 illness.
Local business are already feeling pain from customers choosing to bunker down at home to reduce their contact with others.
“Just try to remember your local business,” Lisa Beecroft, one of the owners of Gabi & Jules bakery in Port Moody, told The Tri-City News. “They’ll feel it most acutely.”
Darling isn’t the only politician being shamed for an inopportune post on Twitter about his evening out. Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt endured a similar backlash after he posted a photo of himself and his kids out on a dinner date at a restaurant he said was “packed.”
— with a file from Stefan Labbé