The Province of B.C. has made buying packaged, sealed liquor products alongside the purchase of a meal for off-site consumption permanent.
Prior to the pandemic, food and liquor primary licensees were only authorized to sell liquor for consumption in their establishments unless they had a special endorsement on their licence. This changed in March 2020, however, as a response to COVID-19. The government opted to authorize licensees to sell and deliver sealed, packaged liquor products for off-site consumption with the purchase of a meal for takeout or delivery. The temporary authorization has been extended three times over the past year and finally, B.C. has opted to make the change permanent.
“At the beginning of the pandemic, our government took swift action to support the food and beverage sector by making many temporary changes to help keep businesses afloat in a rapidly changing environment,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “Making this authorization permanent will provide approximately 8,000 businesses with long-term financial support and certainty, and will aid in the hospitality industry’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The government says the decision was in response to requests from licensees, the industry and the public.
The Province notes that safeguards, such as identity verification, will remain in place and anyone who is delivering these products will be required to have a Serving It Right certification.
“This has been a challenging time for our restaurant and hospitality sector. We continue to work with businesses to find solutions to support them as they adapt during the pandemic,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation. “Announcements like this give businesses the flexibility they need to shift their operations for the long-term, helping them to regain stability as they navigate forward.”
Earlier this year, the government also announced that restaurants, bars and tourism operators with liquor licences were able to purchase beer, wine and spirits at wholesale prices permanently.
Restaurants and bars have, for many years, been required to buy their alcohol at the same full retail prices paid by members of the public.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve had to make huge adjustments to our businesses, shifting to a takeout and delivery-focused business model to ensure we could continue to operate under the provincial health officer’s guidelines,” said Ian Tostenson, president and CEO, BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association. “The temporary change initially helped us generate sales through a new revenue stream, but making it permanent will give us continued relief from the financial hardship of the pandemic as we move into recovery.”