The idea of businesses and restaurants expanding into outdoor spaces is now a reality. The provincial government is temporarily authorizing the expansion of service areas to help the hospitality sector recover amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The expansion of outdoor spaces, like patios, will allow for increased physical distancing between patrons and staff as more people transition away from self-isolation.
“This pandemic has hit our hospitality sector hard. Our government has been working with industry on ways to support the more than 180,000 British Columbians who work in pubs, restaurants and other parts of the sector,” said David Eby, Attorney General.
“Speeding up the process will help restaurants, pubs, breweries and other licensees, and give British Columbians more options for safely eating out this Summer, while continuing to follow Dr. Henry’s directions.”
The idea was brought up for Victoria earlier in the month, as the City has its sights set on creating more room for businesses and pedestrians.
It’s not just food coming to outdoor tables, as the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB) will now permit food-primary, liquor-primary and manufacturer licensees, such as wineries, breweries and distilleries, to increase their service areas.
These businesses can apply for the extension through an online portal until Oct 31.
It is free to apply for the temporary expansions, which will be reviewed on a first-come-first-served basis. There will not be an inspection of the property before the approval is made, but inspectors will continue to conduct random safety inspections to ensure proper health measures are being practiced.
B.C. says these temporary changes are designed to only boost licensed service areas, and will not allow an increase in the businesses overall capacity.
Licensees must comply with all local bylaws and liquor-primary and manufacturer licensees must also receive the approval of their local government.
“This is excellent news that will be welcomed by all of our members and by businesses throughout B.C.,” said Ian Tostenson, president and CEO, B.C. Restaurant and Foodservices Association. “This pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for all of us, and it has been invaluable for government and industry to work together as they have, as we take these important steps toward recovery. We thank the Province for its significant efforts and look forward to rebuilding together.”