The B.C. government has announced an extension to the measures that allow for temporary expanded service areas onto outdoor patios amid recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
This extension will allow bars, restaurants and liquor licensees more time to apply to make those temporary spaces permanent.
The existing temporary expanded service area authorizations, which were set to expire on June 1, 2022, will now be extended to March 31, 2023.
The government says this extension will provide more time for local authorities to update their patio policies and allow for licensees to apply to make those areas permanent.
“Some local governments needed additional time to make the needed policy changes and assess applications for permanent structural changes in their communities,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “This extension will also give businesses more time to apply and prevent the risk of disrupting patio service during the busy summer season.”
Ian Tostenson, president and CEO of BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association says the extension is great news for the many restaurants that have tried to adapt since COVID-19.
“After the pandemic downturn, this decision will take one worry off businesses’ plates. As they plan for the future, they can continue to welcome their customers in expanded service areas and benefit from the resulting revenue.”
The government is encouraging businesses to submit applications as soon as possible, as local governments and First Nations need to evaluate structures and outdoor licensed areas in consideration of their communities’ requirements before expanded service areas are made permanent by the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB).