The temporary authorization allowing liquor-primary and food-primary licensees to sell and deliver sealed, packaged liquor products alongside the purchase of a meal for off-site consumption is now 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.”
Before the pandemic, food and liquor primary licensees (e.g., restaurants and pubs) were authorized to sell liquor only for consumption in their establishments unless they had a special endorsement on their licence. In March 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and in response to emergency recommendations from the Business Technical Advisory Panel consisting of representatives from the liquor and hospitality industry, government temporarily authorized these licensees to sell and deliver sealed, packaged liquor products for off-site consumption with the purchase of a meal for takeout or delivery. Since then, government has extended the temporary authorization three times in response to requests from licensees, the industry and the public.
This delivers on a commitment in the minister’s mandate letter and government’s platform to ensure this authorization was made permanent.
Existing safeguards for safe delivery, such as identity verification, continue to be in place. Individuals who deliver liquor products on behalf of licensees are required to be certified with Serving It Right.
“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.”
This is the second temporary authorization government has made permanent. In February 2021, government announced restaurants, bars and tourism operators with liquor licences were able to purchase beer, wine and spirits at wholesale prices permanently.
“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.”