June 28, 2021
Dear ABLE BC Members and Industry Colleagues,
Here’s what you’ll find inside today’s update:
- Update on BC Restart Plan: Phase Three
- ABLE BC Monthly Q&A Recording
- Requesting proof of COVID-19 vaccination from customers
- COVID-19 Vaccination Workplace Policy
- Policy, Grant, and Deadline Reminders
- Update from LCRB: TESA and Capacity
- New Liquor Policy Directives
- Help us raise our voice: Join the Restaurant Survival Coalition
- Provincial state of emergency extended
Find all past COVID-19 updates here.
Update on BC Restart Plan: Phase Three
Step 3 of BC’s Restart Plan is set to start on July 1. Here is what will change in Step 3:
- Masks are recommended, not required in public indoor settings
- Physical distancing is not required in public indoor settings
- Increased capacity at both indoor and outdoor organized gatherings with a COVID-19 Safety Plan in place
- Canada-wide recreational travel
- No group limit for indoor and outdoor dining
- Liquor service restrictions lifted (i.e., hours of liquor service)
- Casinos and nightclubs can operate with a limited capacity
- Businesses must operate on a new sector COVID-19 Safety Plan
We know many of you have questions about the changes in Step 3, particularly about the restrictions for food primaries and liquor primaries.
ABLE BC is meeting with the Office of the Provincial Health Officer early next week to get more clarity. We will offer further details as soon as they are available, but industry should not expect significant notice of Step 3 requirements prior to July 1.
However, we anticipate the following changes in Step 3: no maximum on dining group sizes, no physical distancing, no masks required, and no physical barriers required. We are confirming if dance floors will be allowed. ABLE BC is also still working to get clarity on how nightclubs can operate.
As noted above, masks will be recommended, but not required in public indoor settings in step 3. ABLE BC will be aligning our recommendations with that the of the PHO and will share more details next week.
That being said, it is important to have conversations with your staff and gauge their comfort level on wearing or not wearing masks in the workplace. Operators will also have to be mindful that customers will have different comfort levels with mask use. This is something you will to take into account for your business.
ABLE BC Monthly Q&A Recording
This morning, we hosted our monthly Q&A with ABLE BC’s Executive Director Jeff Guignard. Watch the recording here.
Resources referenced during meeting:
- BC Human Rights: Poster – Exemption to mandatory mask order in British Columbia
- COVID-19 Vaccination in the Workplace Policy
- Requesting proof of COVID-19 Vaccination from customers
- go2HR: COVID-19 Vaccinations in the Workplace Employer Toolkit
- Current public order for Gatherings and Events
- Current public order for Food and Liquor Serving Premises
- BC Restart Plan
- go2HR: BSAFE Training | Email Andrea Hinck: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have any other questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact ABLE BC: email@example.com.
Requesting proof of COVID-19 vaccination from customers
Business owners throughout the Province are excited at the prospect of their operations returning to normal over the coming weeks and months. However, they are also keenly aware of the need to manage the transition in a manner that reduces the risk of COVID-19 transmission associated with increased customer contact.
Obviously, one of the keys to managing this risk is COVID-19 vaccination in our communities.
This leaves many businesses wondering how to manage contact with customers who may be unable or unwilling to be vaccinated. A common question is whether a business can lawfully request proof of vaccination from customers and, if so, whether they may refuse service to those who do not confirm that they have been vaccinated.
COVID-19 Vaccination Workplace Policy
With almost 80 per cent of eligible British Columbians having had their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, we know employers are wondering whether they can mandate that their employees take the vaccine.
ABLE BC Associate Member and Lawyer Ryan Anderson and his firm (Mathews, Dinsdale & Clarke LLP) offer some guidance.
Policy, Grant, and Deadline Reminders
- The public order for Food and Liquor Serving Premises was updated on June 15, 2021. Download it here.
- The public order for Gatherings and Events was updated on June 22, 2021. Download it here.
- Employers can now apply through WorkSafeBC for COVID-19 paid sick leave reimbursement.
- The deadline for the Small and Medium Sized Business Recovery Grant has been extended to July 2, 2021.
- The LCRB has extended the authorization of existing Temporary Expanded Service Areas for an additional seven months, through to June 1, 2022. They are continuing to accept applications for new TESAs up to October 31, 2021.
- If you plan to make your TESA permanent, apply for your structural change as soon as possible.
- Licensed cannabis retailers will be able to deliver non-medical cannabis products directly to consumers starting July 15, 2021.
- Policy Directive 21-05 (Extension of temporary hours of sale and delivery for Licensee Retail Stores, Wine Stores, and Special Wine Stores, and Manufacturer Onsite Store endorsements) is set to expire on June 30, 2021. We will keep industry updated if this policy is extended.
- Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) and Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP) are being extended from June 30 to December 31, 2021.
- Funding through the soon-to-be introduced Canada Recovery Hiring Program will be available retroactively to June 6, 2021. The program is expected to open for applications on July 7.
- As promised in the federal government’s recent budget announcement, the wage subsidy, rent subsidy, and lockdown support programs will be extended until September 25, 2021 instead of expiring this month. Federal budget legislation will make it possible for a further extension of these programs until November 2021.
- Applications for Special Event Permits have reopened.
Update from LCRB: TESA and Capacity
The LCRB has shared with us the following clarifications around capacity related to Temporary Expanded Service Areas (TESA), as capacity restrictions may be eased by the Provincial Health Officer:
- Although the PHO has not yet made a decision about when capacity restrictions will be eased, if this does happen in Step 3 of the Restart Plan, the LCRB would like to remind licensees that TESA authorizations permit expanded service areas only and do not authorize increased overall occupancy. Licensees are not permitted to increase or exceed their currently approved person/patron capacities or occupant loads under these authorizations.
- As always, licensees must know the capacity of their establishment and will make sure to stay within this limit to prevent overcrowding.
- Permanent changes to capacity require an amendment to the liquor licence. Licensees who want to increase their establishment capacity should apply for a permanent structural change.
- Licensees who’d like to make their current TESA permanent should apply for a new outdoor patio permanent structural change (if their TESA is located outdoors) or a new interior service area permanent structural change (if their TESA is located indoors).
- Licensees applying for a permanent increase to the size of their service area may also apply for an increased capacity. However, licensees’ capacity cannot exceed the ‘occupant load’ determined by local authorities and may still be limited due to the need to comply with Provincial Health Officer orders.
- Although the LCRB has amended its policies and processes to help improve application timelines, we encourage licensees to submit their permanent structural change applications as soon as possible to help avoid disruptions in business.
- As support for some patios was only an interim measure intended to help businesses weather the pandemic, local governments and Indigenous Nations will need to evaluate structures and outdoor licensed areas in terms of their community’s unique requirements and approach to outdoor dining before those temporary authorizations are made permanent by the LCRB.
For more information:
New Liquor Policy Directives
The following liquor policy directives were recently released by the LCRB:
21-09: Temporary Expanded Service Area, extension of provisions and application
To support the delivery of the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General’s mandate commitment to make TESA authorizations permanent, the LCLR has been amended. The TESA provisions in the LCLR will now expire on June 01, 2022. This will enable the GM to extend existing TESA authorizations from October 31, 2021 to June 01, 2022.
The GM will also not be able to accept new TESA applications after October 31, 2021. This means that licensees who want to apply for a new TESA authorization need to submit an application to the LCRB by October 31, 2021. Applications can be submitted Page 2 of 2 by visiting the liquor and cannabis licensing portal.
21-10: Patio bounding and signage
The Liquor Policy Manual has been revised to remove advice about the specific characteristics of patio bounding and signage. Instead, licensees are advised that they are responsible for selecting bounding and signage for their patios. These must be sufficient to ensure the licensee can comply with all regulatory requirements.
The LPM has also been updated to provide additional clarity on operation of patios for all or part of the year and the factors to be considered when determining whether licensees have ownership or sufficient control over the proposed patio area.
The LP, FP and Manufacturer Terms & Conditions handbooks have been revised to require that licensed areas that are not located indoors (e.g., patios) must have boundaries that are marked. This ensures that the service area can be easily identified.
21-11: Cannabis Licensing Regulation Amendment and Repeal of Worker Qualification Regulation
Effective July 15, 2021, CRS licensees and their employees may deliver non-medical cannabis, cannabis accessories, gift cards and shopping bags or provide pick-up at a location immediately outside the retail store. Delivery services operated by third parties are not authorized.
Workers in CRSs are no longer required to obtain a security verification from the GM of the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB) to work in a CRS. As of June 17, 2021, workers who have applied for security verification but have not yet received a decision from the GM regarding their application will be refunded the $100 application fee.
The mandatory training requirements for workers (i.e., Selling it Right) remain unchanged and will be transitioned to the CLR as the WQR is being repealed.
21-12: Extending Authorization for Distilleries, Breweries & Wineries to manufacture, package, sell and donate alcohol-based sanitizer and hand sanitizer
The General Manager is extending the authorization for brewery licence holders, winery licence holders, and distillery licence holders to use their establishments to manufacture and/or package, sell or donate alcohol-based sanitizer and hand sanitizer until September 30, 2021.
Help us raise our voice: Join the Restaurant Survival Coalition
If the rent and wage subsidies are scaled back this summer, most restaurants won’t be able to continue paying staff and suppliers. At least half of all Canadian foodservice operators will have to consider going out of business for good unless the plan changes.
To help raise the voice of foodservice and ensure our hardest-hit industry receives the continued support we need, Restaurants Canada has launched a grassroots campaign calling on our industry and the public, to help keep restaurants in the picture by taking action as part of our Restaurant Survival Coalition.
Send a postcard, at no cost to you, to your Member of Parliament and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, sharing why your foodservice business is important to you and your community, and why our industry needs an exemption from the phase-out of rent and wage subsidies.
Send your postcard in 3 easy steps:
- Visit SupportRestaurants.ca
- Personalize your postcard with such details as: how long you’ve been in business, how many people you employ, and the many tradespeople and suppliers who depend on your business
- Hit submit
We encourage you to take action today to help us raise our voice and send your postcard as soon as possible. Send your postcard.
Provincial state of emergency extended
The Province of British Columbia has formally extended the provincial state of emergency, allowing health and emergency management officials to continue to use extraordinary powers under the Emergency Program Act (EPA) to support the Province’s COVID-19 pandemic response.
The state of emergency is extended through the end of the day on July 6, 2021, to allow staff to take the necessary actions to keep British Columbians safe and manage immediate concerns and COVID-19 outbreaks. In keeping with BC’s Restart plan and recommendations from Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer (PHO), the state of emergency may be cancelled before July 6 if B.C. continues to see solid progress on case numbers, hospitalizations and vaccination rates.