March 26, 2020

Dear ABLE BC Members and Industry Colleagues, 

The COVID-19 outbreak continues to evolve rapidly and we’re working hard to get answers for you.

Included in today’s email:

  • Liquor industry defined as Essential Service in BC
  • Confusion over Provincial Health Officer Order from March 20, 2020
  • Public Health Orders are mandatory
  • Further clarification on selling draft beer
  • What ABLE BC is doing: emergency policies for an industry in crisis
  • BDL Cyber Attack
  • What to do if an employee tests positive for COVID-19
  • BC Liquor Stores to install Plexiglas barriers at all locations 
  • INEO SneezeGuards to protect retail staff 
  • Peregrine Build Plexiglas barriers to protect retail staff

Please continue to send your questions by email to ABLE BC: 
jeff@ablebc.ca or danielle@ablebc.ca

Find all past updates from ABLE BC here.

Liquor industry defined as Essential Service in BC

This morning, Premier John Horgan and Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth announced British Columbia’s next steps to support the COVID-19 response.

Using the extraordinary powers under the Emergency Program Act, the minister is issuing a series of ministerial orders to ensure a co-ordinated response to COVID-19 across all levels of government for the duration of the provincial emergency.

A summary of the ministerial orders can be found here.

The Province, in consultation with the Dr. Bonnie Henry, BC’s provincial health officer, has defined essential services British Columbians rely on in their daily lives in the context of COVID-19 response and recovery.

Included in BC’s list of essential services:

  • Liquor retail
  • Cannabis retail and cannabis producers 
  • Restaurants and other facilities that prepare and serve food, if operating under rules for social and physical distancing or other recommendations from the Provincial Health Officer 
  • Food processing, manufacturing, storage and distribution of foods, feed products and beverages
  • Hotels and places of accommodation

Find the full list of essential services at the bottom of the government news release (under Backgrounders).

In consultation with the provincial health officer, any business or service that has not been ordered to close, and is also not identified on the essential service list, may stay open if it can adapt its services and workplace to the orders and recommendations of the Provincial Health Officer.

ABLE BC has been actively engaged with our government partners since this emergency began to secure this essential designation for BC’s liquor industry. We greatly appreciate government’s confidence that our LRS and LP members – operating in full compliance with Public Health Orders – can continue to provide essential services to British Columbians during this crisis.

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

Confusion over Provincial Health Officer Order from March 20, 2020

We know it is hard to keep up with the rapidly changing regulations and Provincial Health Officer orders. ABLE BC is here to offer regular updates and clarification. 

In particular, we have received a number of questions about the PHO order from March 20 and if today’s announcement about Essential Services impacts the order. We have broken it down below.

Provincial Health Officer Order on March 20, 2020 

The PHO order from March 20 says:

Food Primaries: Owners and operators of places at which food and drink are prepared and served (i.e. Food Primaries) can stay open under the following conditions:

  • Only provide take out or delivery service
  • Customers may be on your premises only for the time it takes them to purchase and collect their purchase
  • You must ensure that when there are people on your premises there is sufficient space available to enable them to maintain a distance of 2 metres from another
  • You must not have more than 50 people present at one time on your premises

Liquor Primaries: Owners and operators of place at which meals and drinks, including drinks containing liquor are prepared and served (i.e. Liquor Primaries that offer meal service), can stay open under the same conditions listed above. 

If you have a Liquor Primary license and only provide snacks or appetizers but not meal service (e.g. nightclub) you must be closed. 

If you have a Liquor Primary license with an off-sales endorsement, your retail premise may stay open. You are subject to the same conditions listed above. 

If your Liquor Primary is allowed to be open, patrons cannot consume alcohol or food on-premise. All on-premise consumption is currently illegal in BC. 

Government Announcement on March 21, 2020 

On March 21, government announced that Liquor and Food Primaries operating in compliance with the PHO order above are permitted to sell packaged liquor with the purchase of a take-away or delivery meal. But, liquor sales are only permitted with the purchase of a meal for take-away or delivery. You cannot sell alcohol for take-away or delivery without a meal. 

Read the Food Primary and Liquor Primary Terms and Conditions for more details.

Government Announcement on March 26, 2020 

On March 26, the Province released its list of essential services. Included on the list:

  • Liquor retail
  • Cannabis retail and cannabis producers 
  • Restaurants and other facilities that prepare and serve food, if operating under rules for social and physical distancing or other recommendations from the Provincial Health Officer 
  • Food processing, manufacturing, storage and distribution of foods, feed products and beverages
  • Hotels and places of accommodation

Find the full list of essential services at the bottom of the  government news release (under Backgrounders). 

Any business or service that has not already been ordered to close and is also not identified on the essential service list, may stay open if it can adapt its services and workplace to the orders and recommendations of the Provincial Health Officer. 

If you have a Liquor Primary license, offer meal-service, and comply with the March 20th PHO order, you can stay open. 

If you have a Liquor Primary license and only provide snacks or appetizers but not meal service (e.g. nightclub) you must still be closed.

Confusion with Local Health Authorities 

We understand that some local health authorities have misinterpreted the March 20th Provincial Health Officer order and contacted Liquor Primaries who are in compliance with the PHO. 

We are addressing this confusion with the provincial government and local authorities presently. If you are running into issues, we recommend you print out the PHO and post in your establishment, so customers know you are complying. 

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

Public Health Orders are Mandatory

Earlier today, BC’s Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth issued a list of essential services (see above), which we are pleased to report include liquor licensees. 

He also issued a series of emergency orders, including BC’s strongest measures yet to combat this pandemic, such as fines of up to $25,000 and possibly jail time for anyone ignoring public health directives related to COVID-19. 

Premier John Horgan was similarly unequivocal: “The orders – they are not suggestions or good advice. They are the law.” 

At the risk of sounding blunt, we need to stress that it is vitally important all businesses comply with these Public Health Orders immediately. These orders are mandatory. Not following Public Health Orders is an offense and will expose you to prosecution and significant fines. 

Not understanding the orders is not a defence against prosecution. If you have questions about how the orders (e.g. Provincial Health Officer order on March 20, 2020) impact your business, please do not hesitate to contact us immediately: jeff@ablebc.ca or danielle@ablebc.ca

Further clarification on selling draft beer 

We have received reports that some licenses are perhaps attempting to skirt the intention of recent temporary privileges granted to liquor licensees. Although we previously offered clarifications on how you may sell draft beer, it appears some confusion remains. 

To be clear, according to the LCRB: “you may sell packaged beer, including draught beer in new glass vessels referred to as growlers and bombers of a size no less than one litre supplied by you.” That means you are not allowed to sell in champagne bottles, take out beverage containers, two litre pop, bottles with flip-tops, or any other type of container. 

Government has reacted quite quickly to implement emergency supports for liquor licensees, such as allowing Liquor Primaries and Food Primaries to sell alcohol with take-out and delivery mealsBy contravening the spirit of these rules, licensees risk being shut down for the duration of this crisis. Your actions could also compromise the ability of other licensees to offer these services in full compliance with Public Health Orders. 

We of course understand that information is moving quickly and some confusion is inevitable. Please do not hesitate to contact us directly if we can help clarify how these policies impact your business.

Emergency policies for an industry in crisis 

Since this crisis began, the Business Technical Advisory Panel – comprised of ABLE BC and British Columbia’s other hospitality industry associations such the BCWI, BCRFA, and BC Craft Brewers Guild – has been in direct contact with our government partners daily. 

BTAP has been working to coordinate urgent and immediate recommendations that specifically support BC’s devastated hospitality industry and its 190,000 workers. For example, the ability of Liquor Primaries and Food Primaries to sell alcohol with take-out and delivery meals came directly from an urgent BTAP recommendation. 

Rest assured that several other important recommendations are currently under discussion, and we fully expect to have more good news for you soon. We will circulate additional details as soon as they are available.

BDL Cyber Attack

As you may already know, last night (March 25), Brewers Distributor Ltd. (BDL) was subjected to a cyber-attack. 

BDL has shared with us the following customer update regarding the cyber attack and system outage:

Dear Valued Customer,

Last night, Brewers Distributor Ltd.(BDL) was subjected to a cyber-attack. We are following internal response protocols. For you as a BDL customer, this could impact ordering and delivery times. For example, currently, our online ordering platform is down. We are working on resolving these issues and we undertake to keep you updated in real time as we know more

.In the meantime, if you need to place a Beer order or have any questions please call our contact center at 1-800-661-2337 or email bdl@bdl.ca.

We know this is a very difficult time for you and we want to make this as seamless as possible. We thank you for your partnership and we hope you and your families are safe and well. We will be in touch with further details.

Thank you,
Brewers Distributors Ltd.Customer Contact Center: 1-800-661-2337 or bdl@bdl.ca

What to do if an employee tests positive for COVID-19

We have received several questions about what to do if an employee tests positive for COVID-19. ABLE BC is working with our industry partner go2HR to create a detailed action plan if this happens. 

In the interim, here are some precautions you can take:

  • You should send home all employees who worked closely with that employee for a 14-day period of time (self-isolation) to ensure the infection does not spread. 
  • Before the employee departs, ask them to identify all individuals who worked in close proximity (three to six feet) with them in the previous 14 days to ensure you have a full list of those who should be sent home.
  • Advise the employee to use the COVID-19 self-assessment tool to know when to seek healthcare. Further information can be found on the BCCDC website.
  • When sending the employees home, do not identify by name the infected employee or you could risk a violation of confidentiality laws. If you work in a shared office building or area, you should inform building management so they can take whatever precautions they deem necessary.
  • It is recommended to close off areas used by the ill persons and wait as long as practical before beginning cleaning and disinfection to minimize potential for exposure to respiratory droplets. Open outside doors and windows to increase air circulation in the area. If possible, wait up to 24 hours before beginning cleaning and disinfection.
  • Cleaning staff should clean and disinfect all areas (e.g., offices, bathrooms, and common areas) used by the ill persons, focusing especially on frequently touched surfaces.
  • More details on sanitation can be found here.

BC Liquor Stores to install Plexiglas barriers at all locations

To help reduces the spread of coronavirus, BC Liquor Stores (BCLS) will be installing Plexiglas barriers at its checkouts across the province.

The company told Daily Hive that this is one of several additional changes BC Liquor Stores is introducing to “protect employees and customers, stem the spread of COVID-19 and deal with staffing constraints.”

The LDB will be installing the protective shields at locations in Vancouver and on the North Shore first. Plexiglas will be installed at the BCLS’s remaining outposts over the coming weeks.

This is one of several new measures being introduced by BCLS. Other changes include all stores starting to close on Sundays, and customers being asked to pack their purchases in bags themselves to limit employee contact.

All stores will remain in operation between 11 am to 7 pm on Mondays through Saturdays.

For more information on precautions your liquor store can take:

INEO SneezeGuards to protect retail staff

INEO Solutions has redirected their production capacity to produce ‘Sneeze Guards’ that can be installed at retailers’ checkout lanes to protect the cashier from inadvertent contact with COVID-19, while still allowing interaction with product, credit cards, and cash. 

Find a sample design rendering here.

The guard is easy to attach and adjustable up and down, meaning it can fit almost any counter. The product is shipped with a piece of 10Mil poly attached to the bottom, which you can easily cut with a pair of scissors to fit around your retail counter debit terminal, bagging area, display monitor, etc.

The SneezeGuard brackets are made from 10WAG Stainless Steel and are predrilled to be either bolted or lag screwed into the counter. Install time should be no more than 30 minutes. 

For more information and to order please contact: 
Kyle Hall, CEO
Office: 604-283-2974 ext. 102
Cell: 650-270-0504
Email: khall@ineosolutionsinc.com
Website: https://ineosolutionsinc.com/covid19/covid-19barriers

Peregrine Build Plexiglass barriers to protect retail staff

Peregrine Build is a supplier and installer of fast and economical Plexiglass barriers. They are currently producing barriers for government liquor stores, banks, and several pharmacies. 

For more information please contact: 
Brian Smith
bsmith@peregrine.build
Cell: 604-818-3979

For more information:

Public Health Agency of Canada Website

Updates from the Government of British Columbia

Updates and Resources from ABLE BC

If you have any other questions or concerns, please contact ABLE BC:
604-688-5560 or info@ablebc.ca.


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