April 30, 2021

Dear ABLE BC Members and Industry Colleagues,

Here’s what you’ll find inside today’s update:

  • Message from ABLE BC’s Executive Director on his 7 Year Anniversary
  • ABLE BC Government Relations and Advocacy Update: webinar recording now available
  • New patio guidance document
  • Updated public order for Food and Liquor Serving Premises
  • New policy directive: Family Foodservices term and condition
  • Good news: expanded relief grant for hospitality businesses
  • Last chance to complete survey: impact of extending indoor dining restrictions
  • Legislation for paid COVID-19 vaccination leave now in force
  • Mental health in the workplace: Mental Health Week May 3-9, 2021
  • BSAFE open for registration: new online health and safety course for tourism and hospitality
  • Responding to difficult guests during a pandemic
  • Provincial state of emergency extended

Find all past COVID-19 updates here.

Message from ABLE BC’s Executive Director Jeff Guignard on his 7 Year Anniversary

It’s hard to believe, but today marks my seven-year anniversary as Executive Director of ABLE BC. Given everything we’ve been through over the past year, it feels like about five of those years have been during COVID. 

This isn’t the right time to reflect, but I wanted you to know that I am immensely gratitude for your ongoing trust and support. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished together over the past seven years, and especially during this seemingly endless pandemic. 

While we still have a long road ahead, that road is made easier knowing our industry is united by so many passionate, innovative, and resilient businesspeople like you. 

As we continue to navigate the most challenging economic crisis in generations, rest assured both I and the team at ABLE BC will be right here fighting for you. 

Here’s hoping that by this time next year, we can celebrate together in-person. As always, you can reach out to me with any questions or concerns at jeff@ablebc.ca.

ABLE BC Government Relations and Advocacy Update: webinar recording now available

This morning, ABLE BC hosted a Government Relations and Advocacy update.

Our Executive Director Jeff Guignard provided an update on:

  • State of BC’s private liquor and hospitality industry
  • Impact of latest Circuit Breaker restrictions
  • Overview of new patio guidance document
  • What ABLE BC is doing to support you during the COVID-19 crisis, including key policy changes we’ve successfully fought for to date and issues we’re working on next
  • Update on other policy priorities, including licensee sales, labour issues, and more

Later in the meeting, we were joined by lawyers from Mathews Dinsdale Clarke LLP: Ryan Anderson and Mark Bout. They addressed questions around union certification drives and whether or not employers can require employees to get vaccinated.

For a copy of the recording and presentation slides, please contact Danielle Leroux (Director of Membership and Communications): danielle@ablebc.ca.

New patio guidance document

To help clarify confusion around patios, the Ministry of Health has published new ‘Guidance for Outside Dining Spaces.’

This document provides information on ways to comply with the Provincial Health Officer’s Order on Food and Liquor Serving Premises, specifically the requirements for providing outside food or drink services (e.g., on a patio).

We strongly encourage you to download and review the document and ensure your patio is in compliance.

As an owner or operator, this guidance will support you when preparing or amending your COVID-19 Safety Plan and outside dining set up. This document is also being used by health inspectors.

Note from ABLE BC: 

We understand this new guidance may require some of you to change your outdoor dining set up. While this may be frustrating, ABLE BC and our industry partners are doing everything we can to keep patios open. That’s why we worked with the Ministry of Health to get clarity on what is and isn’t allowed with outdoor dining.

It is imperative operators adhere to this guidance and the conditions laid out in the public order to keep outdoor dining open. Please let us know any challenges you are experiencing with outdoor dining and we can relay that feedback to government. Email: info@ablebc.ca.

Updated public order for Food and Liquor Serving Premises

A updated public order for Food and Liquor Serving Premises was released on April 21, 2021. Download it here.

This order applies to restaurants, coffee shops, cafes, cafeterias, and food primary and liquor primary establishments, including pubs, bars, lounges, and nightclubs, liquor manufacturing facilities that have tasting rooms, and private clubs.

Key changes in the order:

  • Definition of patio
  • Section about contact tracing has been added back in
  • Conditions for a tasting room with a liquor manufacturer license having patrons inside for the purpose of tasting have been reformatted slightly

Reminder: no person may sell liquor between 10:00 pm and 9:00 am on the following day. No person, including a patron, owner, operator, or staff member may consume liquor on the premises after 11:00 pm.

All other conditions from the prior public order remain in place. Download the order for more information. This order expires at midnight on May 24, 2021.

If you have any other questions or concerns, please contact ABLE BC: info@ablebc.ca.

New policy directive: Family Foodservices term and condition

The LCRB recently released Policy Directive 21-07: Family Foodservice term and condition, Liquor Primary licensees.

Prior to this new policy, Liquor Primary (LP) licensees with a Family Foodservice (FFS) term and condition could permit minors accompanied by a parent or guardian in their establishment until 10:00 pm.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the provincial state of emergency, and the Provincial Health Officer’s order prohibiting the sale of liquor and food and liquor serving premises after 10:00 pm, the LCRB General Manager is putting in place a time-limited measure to support LP licensees with a FFS term and condition.

Licensees with a FFS term and condition are temporarily authorized to permit minors accompanied by a parent or guardian in the service area beyond 10:00 pm.

This new policy is effective immediately and is only applicable as long as the provincial health order that prohibits the sale of liquor in food and liquor serving premises after 10:00 pm remains in effect. LP licensees do not need to submit an application to change their FFS term and condition.

Good news: expanded relief grant for hospitality businesses

On April 26, government announced they are adding $75 million to the Circuit Breaker Business Relief Grant, bringing the amount available for hard-hit BC businesses to over $125 million.

The grant remains open to bars, pubs, restaurants, breweries, wineries, gyms, and fitness facilities impacted by the March 31, 2021, provincial health officer’s orders. The orders remain in place until May 25.

The grant is now also open to hotels, motels, and other short-term accommodations impacted by the April 23 emergency order to restrict travel between BC’s regional zones.

With the increased funding, eligible businesses will receive up to $20,000 (double the original grant amount) to help with expenses like employee wages, rent, maintenance, and utilities. The individual amount a business received will be based on the number of employees.

Businesses that previously applied for or received the Circuit Breaker Business Relief Grant that opened on April 12, 2021 do not need to apply again. They will automatically receive the additional funding.

We strongly encourage you to apply now, if you haven’t already. 

Applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis, and applicants are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. Applications will be accepted until June 4, 2021, or when the funds are disbursed.

Learn more and apply here.

The expanded grant criteria and increased funding is a direct result of work by ABLE BC and our industry association colleagues over the past week. Since the ban on indoor dining was extended, ABLE BC has been working tirelessly behind the scenes, pushing for urgent financial support for BC’s beleaguered hospitality industry.

ABLE BC expresses our immense gratitude to Minister Kahlon and his team for making these changes to the grant. This is exactly the type of support our industry needs to help weather the direct financial costs of this ongoing crisis.

If you have any other questions or concerns, please contact ABLE BC: info@ablebc.ca.

Last chance to complete survey: impact of extending indoor dining restrictions

As you know, the public orders prohibiting indoor dining have been extended until after the May long weekend.
ABLE BC and our industry partners understand extending the ban on indoor dining is incredibly frustrating. We also know this order comes with catastrophic financial consequences for our industry.

Please take 3-5 minutes to complete our new survey for BC’s hospitality and manufacturing industry. 

Thank you to all those who have already completed the survey. Your feedback is greatly appreciated.

We want to know how extending the orders will impact your business and if you have accessed any provincial grants. ABLE BC and our industry partners are continuing to meet with government to discuss the impacts of these restrictions and request additional urgent financial support for our industry.

Legislation for paid COVID-19 vaccination leave now in force

Amendments to the Employment Standards Act providing workers with up to three hours of paid leave to get each dose of their COVID-19 vaccine are now in effect, retroactive to April 19, 2021.

Bill 3 is now law and ensures that no employee will lose pay if they need time away from work to get vaccinated. Both full-time and part-time employees can take up to three hours of paid leave.

For more information on COVID-19 Leave, please click here

Note from ABLE BC: Employers in all sectors are obviously dedicated to encouraging and supporting their employees to get vaccinated. While ABLE BC lauds steps to increase vaccination rates for British Columbians, we strongly object to adding additional costs being unloaded on BC’s liquor and hospitality industry.

This decision could add tens of millions of additional labour costs to the hospitality, accommodation, and tourism industries. It is simply illogical to ask industry to incur these costs at the very moment when many businesses are only surviving because of financial supports, such as the federal wage and rent subsidies and the provincial Circuit Breaker and Small Business Recovery Grants.

As we noted in our update last week, ABLE BC joined the Coalition of BC Business in expressing our serious concerns about the undue hardship this new law will place on the liquor and hospitality industries. Read the Coalition’s full letter to Minister Bains.

Mental health in the workplace: Mental Health Week May 3-9, 2021

May 3-9 is Mental Health Week in Canada, and it’s never been more important to have honest conversations about mental health and wellness in the workplace. 

Starting those conversations isn’t always easy – that’s why ABLE BC Associate Member BDO Canada has compiled a list of resources to help you open the lines of communication and support your team. 

BC Hub for Workplace Mental Health 

The BC Canadian Mental Health Association and go2HR partnered to create a new online portal for mental health and wellness resources specifically for the tourism and hospitality industry. Visit the hub.

BSAFE open for registration: new online health and safety course for tourism and hospitality

BSAFE (BC Safety Assured For Everyone) a new, online health and safety course created by go2HR is open for employers to pre-register now

Geared toward staff in BC’s tourism and hospitality industry, BSAFE provides staff with a strong foundation in COVID-19 health and safety protocols, and assists them in understanding ever-evolving best practices. Once the course is completed, participants are awarded a certificate that demonstrates their knowledge of and commitment to COVID-19 health and safety. 

Supported by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport, BSAFE aims to build community and staff confidence in the health and safety protocols of BC’s tourism and hospitality industry as the province navigates and emerges from the COVID-19 era. 

Learn more and pre-register now.

Responding to difficult guests during a pandemic

Need to find the right words dealing with a difficult guest? Providing a positive guest experience can be difficult during a pandemic, but go2HR and their team of experts have the right words you need to convey your message effectively. 

Download one of go2HR’s suggested scripts to help find the appropriate way to respond to a non-compliant guest or customer. They’ve also compiled some additional tips for you to be calm, be kind and stay safe.

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 May 11, 2021, to allow staff to take the necessary actions to keep British Columbians safe and manage immediate concerns and COVID-19 outbreaks.


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