January 28, 2021

Dear ABLE BC Members and Industry Colleagues, 

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

  • Update from ABLE BC: Super Bowl Sunday
  • Hosting private after-hours events is not allowed
  • ABLE BC Annual General Meeting: February 16
  • Order now: 2021 ID Checking Guides
  • ABLE BC Board of Directors: Call for nominations
  • LDB Wholesale Customer Satisfaction Survey: complete by January 31
  • Apply for Small Business Recovery Grant
  • New resource from go2HR: responding to difficult guest situations during a pandemic
  • New federal grant program: Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program
  • BC’s Premiere Craft Brewers Conference returns February 3-5, 2021
  • LDB Inventory Count: February 25 – 28
  • Apply now: permanent patio extensions
  • New liquor license class for rural agency stores

Find all past updates from ABLE BC here.

As always, if you have any additional questions or need to reach us you can email: jeff@ablebc.ca or danielle@ablebc.ca.

Update from ABLE BC: Super Bowl Sunday

We know many of you have questions and concerns about Super Bowl Sunday and how your establishments may be impacted.

ABLE BC has been in regular discussion with the Provincial Health Officer and her staff about how licensed establishments can operate during Super Bowl.

We are not aware of any new restrictions that will be coming into place. If there are any changes, we will let you know as soon as possible. Given that the Super Bowl takes place during the day and early evening, we do not anticipate any changes to your hours.

However, we strongly recommend that you ensure whatever programming you do have planned for Super Bowl does not become an event, as defined in the PHO public order

Event refers to an in-person gathering of people in any place whether private or public, inside or outside, organized or not, on a one-time, regular or irregular basis, including […] a musical, theatrical or dance entertainment or performance; a live solo or band musical performance; a disc jockey performance […] auction; fund raising benefit; contest; competition; quiz; game; rally; festival; presentation; demonstration; group sport […]

For the full event definition please see page 5 of the public order.

Under current regulations, you are not allowed to host a ticketed Super Bowl Party or promote the Super Bowl in such a way that it is encouraging people to gather at your establishment.

We understand there is confusion among health inspectors and differing interpretations of what constitutes an event. While we know it’s frustrating we can’t give you a definitive answer of ‘event,’ we’re currently working to get that clarification.

Remember that you must continue to follow all public health protocols during Super Bowl Sunday, including:

  • Patrons must be able to maintain a distance of two metres from other patrons unless they are separated by physical barriers
  • Patrons must be assigned to a table, booth, or counter and shown to their seats. Patrons must stay in the seat to which they are assigned, or at which they seat themselves, and must not move from table to table
  • Liquor may only be served to patrons who are seated
  • There must be no more than six patrons seated at a table or booth, even if they belong to the same party
  • You must determine the maximum number of patrons who can be accommodated safely on your premises and monitor that number
  • You must take steps to prevent the congregation of patrons inside and outside your premises
  • Background music, including live solo and live band music, and any other background sounds, including from televisions and electronic sound producing devices, must not be amplified and must be no louder than the volume of normal conversation.

For more information, please see the public order.

There will be additional scrutiny on our industry because of Super Bowl and we must all work together and continue to abide by public health protocols. If you have any questions about the protocols, please contact ABLE BC: info@ablebc.ca.

Hosting private after-hours events is not allowed

Recently, we have heard disturbing reports of licensed establishments covering windows and hosting private events after hours.

This is a clear violation of both the current public health orders and the terms and conditions of your liquor license. Operators doing this will be subject to a minimum $2,300 fine.

Our industry has been bending over backwards for months to abide by stringent public health orders, keep establishments open, and ensure the health and safety of staff and customers.

We know it is incredibly tough out there right now. But the answer is not to violate protocols, potentially compromising how the rest of industry is allowed to operate and giving us all a bad reputation.

ABLE BC will keep on fighting for you and your businesses, but it vital that all operators follow current public heath orders. 

If you have any questions or would like to have a confidential discussion about this issue, please contact ABLE BC’s Executive Director Jeff Guignard directly: 604-499-2566 or jeff@ablebc.ca

For more information:

ABLE BC Annual General Meeting: February 16

On Tuesday, February 16, 2020 at 10:00 am, ABLE BC is hosting our Annual General Meeting virtually. All members in good standing with the Alliance are invited to attend. All non-members are also encouraged to attend, but cannot vote.

The AGM will be held via Zoom. Please RSVP by February 15 to Danielle Leroux (Director of Membership and Communications): danielle@ablebc.ca. A Zoom link will be sent out prior to the AGM.

The AGM agenda will include: 

  • Introducing our newly elected 2020-21 Board of Directors
  • Update on 2019-20 activities
  • Presentation of the Alliance’s 2019-20 Financial Statements and Annual Report
  • Discussion about the policy issues and COVID-19 recovery efforts ABLE BC’s Board of Directors will focus on in 2021
  • New business

RSVP now. If you have any other questions or concerns, please contact jeff@ablebc.ca.

Order now: 2021 ID Checking Guides

The NEW 2021 North American ID Checking Guide Book and NEW 14th Edition International ID Checking Guide Book are now available to order through the ABLE BC office. Both guides have been updated since 2020.

Place your order HERE by February 1, 2021.

The ID Checking Guide Books help you and your staff make accurate, on-the-spot verification of driver’s licenses and ID cards – your best protection against ID fraud. These books also help ensure you are kept updated on the latest versions of all ID formats. 

For more information on the ID Checking Guide Books, including pricing please download our FAQ.

ABLE BC Board of Directors: Call for nominations

Are you interested in running for a position on ABLE BC’s 2021 Board of Directors? ABLE BC is currently seeking nominations for three director positions: two from Vancouver, Coast and Mountains region, and one from Thompson Okanagan.  

Download a nomination form

All completed nominations forms must be submitted to the ABLE BC office no later than 5:00 pm on Friday, February 5, 2021. Late forms will be disqualified. Fax to 604-688-8560 or email to Executive Director Jeff Guignard at jeff@ablebc.ca

After the nomination period ends, election ballots will be circulated to all members in the appropriate region for voting (if necessary).  

ABLE BC’s Director Nominations is overseen by our Nominations Committee, comprised of:

  • Poma Dhaliwal (Committee Chair and Past President)
  • Michael Brown (ABLE BC Director)
  • Vince Marino (ABLE BC Member) 

To learn more about our Nominations process, please contact Jeff Guignard (Executive Director) at 604-688-5560 or jeff@ablebc.ca

LDB Wholesale Customer Satisfaction Survey: complete by Sunday

The BC Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) is committed to providing the highest level of service to its customers. 

Liquor Wholesale Operations is surveying customers to gather information on their experiences so that they can focus attention and resources on areas necessary to better meet your needs. 

This survey is designed to capture the performance of the Wholesale Operations division over the past 12 months. Service provided by Brewer’s Distributor Ltd (BDL), Commercial Logistics (beer deliveries) and direct product distribution and delivery services should not be reflected in your responses. 

Complete the survey.

The survey should take 15 minutes to complete. Please note the deadline for completing the survey is 5:00 pm, January 31, 2021. Please only submit one survey response per license or location. 

The LDB values your feedback and appreciate you taking the time to complete this survey. 

Apply for Small Business Recovery Grant

The Small and Medium Sized Business Recovery Grant program provides fully funded grants to businesses to ensure they have the support they need during and beyond COVID-19.

Grants of $10,000 to $30,000 are available to small and medium sized BC businesses impacted by COVID-19. An additional $5,000 to $15,000 grant is available to eligible tourism-related businesses. 

The program runs until March 31, 2021 or until the funds are fully allocated, whichever comes first.

Money is still available and we strongly encourage you to check your eligibility and apply

If you are unable to apply, please let us know why so we can communicate those concerns to government.

Note: on December 18, 2020, in response to industry concerns, the provincial government expanded the grant eligibility criteria. 

In addition to changing the required minimum revenue drop of 50% to a drop of 30%, the new criteria also reduces the previous three-year operation requirement to 18 months. This means businesses only need to have been in operation nine months before the pandemic to apply for the grant.

Vitally important for ABLE BC’s nightclub-LP members, the new criteria specifically includes businesses closed by public health orders.Additional adjustments include a streamlined application process and simplified criteria, and applications may now be submitted by sole proprietors.

The first step is to apply for funding online.

New resource from go2HR: responding to difficult guest situations during a pandemic

Providing positive guest experiences during the time of a pandemic can be challenging at times, especially when guests are not following businesses’ established Health & Safety protocols.

go2HR has developed a new script document for frontline staff to refer to in tough situations.

Download the scripts here.

Their team of HR and training experts have developed scenarios that staff could likely encounter in their workplace, and suggested scripts on how to respond to non-compliant guests.

New federal grant program: Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program

On January 26, the Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade Mary Ng announced the launch of the Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP). This new relief measure was first unveiled in the Fall Economic Statement late last year.

Through HASCAP, the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) has been mandated to provide a guarantee to Canadian financial institutions to help businesses heavily impacted by COVID-19 access additional liquidity and cover operating costs, as follows: 

  • loans ranging from $25,000 to $1 million to qualifying businesses
  • hard-hit businesses such as a hotel or restaurant chain with multiple locations under one entity could be eligible for up to $6.25 million
  • low-interest loans and repayment terms of up to 10 years
  • up to a 12-month postponement on principal repayments at the start of the loan
  • BDC will provide a guarantee to the financial institution for 100% of the value of the loan

Eligibility requirements:

  • The business must have been financially stable and viable before the current economic situation
  • Businesses need to show a year-over-year revenue decline of at least 50% in three months, within the eight months before their application
  • The loan will be used to continue or resume operations
  • The business must be Canadian base
  • The business must have previously applied for either the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) or the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS)

To confirm eligibility and apply to HASCAP, you will need to contact your primary financial institution.  

Eligible businesses can start applying as early as February 1 at their principal financial institutions, and more widely by February 15. HASCAP will be available to businesses in all sectors until June 30, 2021.

BC’s Premiere Craft Brewers Conference returns February 3-5, 2021

BC Beer Con will return virtually to a monitor near you from February 3 to 5, 2021.

The BC Craft Brewers Conference, hosted by the BC Craft Brewers Guild and presented by Great Little Box Company | Ideon Packaging, brings together key stakeholders from the Canadian craft brewing industry for an annual networking and educational event. 

From February 3 to 5, brewery staff, brewing students, and beer enthusiasts are invited to take part in various educational seminars and keynotes to gear up 2021. The three days are divided into half-day tracks, broken out into Brewing, Marketing & Sales, Operations and Finance.

Tickets to BC Beer Con are now available here, with 50 per cent of every ticket sold supporting the Canadian Craft Brewers Association to create a more inclusive and diverse beer community. 

BC Craft Brewers Guild member breweries and Associate Members, Canadian Craft Brewers Association Members, and Brewing School Students can attend for $20 plus applicable taxes, and public or non-member tickets are available for $50 plus applicable taxes. 

Note: ABLE BC members qualify for the $20 ticket rate. Select associate member at checkout.

For more information on BC Beer Con, please visit: www.bccraftbrewersconference.com

LDB Inventory Count: February 25 – 28

The BC Liquor Distribution Branch’s (LDB) liquor distribution warehouses in Delta and Kamloops will conduct a mandatory physical inventory count from Thursday, February 25 through Sunday, February 28, 2021.

This year, the inventory count is scheduled for the end of February when the distribution centres anticipate lower volume and minimal impact to stakeholders while allowing customers time to stock-up for the spring and summer months. 

Please note the annual inventory count scheduling is subject to change each year and is dependent on seasonal volume and operational demands.

Please download the memos below for more information:

Apply now: permanent patio extensions

As you know, on May 22, 2020, the LCRB introduced Policy Directive 20-13: permitting a licensee to temporarily expand their service area (i.e. patios). Policy Directive 20-26 extended this temporary authorization to October 31, 2021. Licensees may apply for new Temporary Expanded Service Area authorizations up to this date.

Since the introduction of this policy, we know some establishments are looking to make these temporary expanded service areas permanent. We strongly encourage you to begin the application process for a structural change now, as the branch routinely takes 6-9 months to complete the process.

ABLE BC is also engaging with municipalities to ensure they know the importance of expediting work on their end.

For more information on structural changes:

New liquor license class for rural agency stores

Government has approved the transition of Rural Agency Store (RAS) authorizations to a new Rural Licensee Retail Store (RLRS) liquor licence regulated by the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB).

RAS establishments are the only remaining private liquor retailers not yet regulated by the LCRB. Government writes: “Introducing the RLRS liquor licence will provide a more consistent regulatory and enforcement approach to liquor store retailing in BC, ensuring all liquor retailers follow the same regulations as other licensees in the province.”

Note from ABLE BC: the intention of this change is to bring greater regulation and enforcement to RAS by having them licensed by the LCRB. None of the rules of how RAS are allowed to operate (i.e. 10 km away from another liquor retailer) are changing.

Previously, RAS were granted authorizations by the BC Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) to sell packaged liquor on behalf of the LDB.

The new RLRS liquor licence will enable licensed RAS operators to independently sell liquor in their establishments in accordance with liquor laws and the terms and conditions of the licence class.

Current RAS operators who meet eligibility requirements will be automatically transferred to the new licence class.

When the new RLRS licence class comes into effect February 26, 2021, the RLRS licence will be open to new applications through the LCRB’s liquor and cannabis licensing portal. 

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