May 14, 2020

Dear ABLE BC Members and Industry Colleagues, 

Before we get into today’s update, we wanted to share some good news with you: 

Today, Attorney General David Eby confirmed that Premier John Horgan has instructed him to move quickly on clearing liquor-related roadblocks for pubs, bars, and restaurants. 

Specifically, the Attorney General referenced two urgent requests that are being actively explored within government: 

  • wholesale prices for hospitality licensees (i.e. LPs and FPs)
  • expedited provincial approval for patios and expanded outdoor liquor service

These would be significant wins for our members and are essential for our industry’s long-term economic recovery. 

While ABLE BC and other industry associations on the Business Technical Advisory Panel have been working the past several weeks on expanding outdoor liquor service, allowing hospitality customers to purchase liquor at wholesale prices is one of our long-standing policy priorities.

ABLE BC greatly appreciates the ongoing work of Attorney General David Eby, his staff, and the LCRB to support our industry in this time of crisis.
We also want to take this opportunity to thank our members for your support. Without your membership dollars and your voice, our advocacy work would not be possible.

More official details will be available soon on these two changes. Until then, this article in the Vancouver Sun has some more information (note: while the article references restaurants, liquor and food primaries would be included in these changes).

Here’s what else you’ll find in today’s COVID-19 update:

  • Recap of last week’s updates
  • Update on Liquor Primary Reopening and Best Practices
  • Update on Liquor Retailer Best Practices
  • Update on Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program
  • New Buy BC E-Commerce Platform 
  • Join Breaking Bread: online platform to let customers know what you’re offering
  • Survey: BC Chamber of Commerce Road to Recovery Pulse Check
  • Call for comprehensive Federal Paid Sick Leave program

Find all past updates from ABLE BC here.

Recap of last week’s updates

Here’s what you may have missed from ABLE BC last week:

  • May 4: government relations update, extended temporary layoff period
  • May 6: BC’s restart plan and reopening the province, BC Tourism Resiliency Network, Canadian Hospitality Worker Relief Fund, Helpful links and resources
  • May 8: liquor primary reopening, liquor retailer COVID-19 best practices, ContainerWorld Operational Update, summer 2020 issue of the Quarterly Pour is now available, Tourism and Hospitality COVID-19 Resource Forum

Find all past ABLE BC updates here.

Update on Liquor Primary Reopening and Best Practices

On Monday, we hosted our second Zoom meeting with liquor primaries to discuss reopening best practices. Thank you to everyone who joined us. We truly appreciate your time and valuable input.

Next Steps: 

ABLE BC’s draft Liquor Primary Reopening Best Practices as been submitted to WorkSafeBC for approval and we are waiting on their response. We will circulate an official reopening guide when it is ready. We expect this to be within the next 1-2 days.

Reopening Dates:

We know there has been conflicting information on when Liquor Primaries can reopen. The reopening date for Liquor Primaries (with the exception of nightclubs) that has been communicated to us is after the long weekend: Tuesday, May 19. 

Please note the Provincial Health Officer has not yet confirmed the specific date or released a public health order to finalize that. We will communicate any official documents or changes as they are released.

Zoom Meeting for Nightclub Owners and Operators

Regrettably, nightclubs are not included in the above Liquor Primary re-openings. In BC’s Restart Plan, the province acknowledged further challenges await when it comes to getting everything fully reopened, including reopening nightclubs and casinos. 

Next week, ABLE BC will be hosting a Zoom meeting for all nightclub owners and operators to further discuss this issue. Stay tuned for date and time. 

Update on Liquor Retailer Best Practices

Thank you to everyone who joined us on Monday’s Zoom meeting for Liquor Retailers. 

We’ve submitted our draft Liquor Retailer COVID-19 Best Practices guide to WorkSafeBC for approval and are awaiting their response. We’ll circulate a final copy of the guide when it is ready.

If you have any other questions or concerns about liquor retailer best practices, please contact:

Update on Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program

Earlier this month, we surveyed you on the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program and whether or not you qualify for the program. 
55% of survey respondents are not eligible or able to take advantage of the CECRA program.

While the program responds to one of the greatest challenges for hospitality businesses, many will be unable to secure any protection or relief through this mechanism, through no fault of their own.

ABLE BC and our industry partners are aware that a broader rent relief program is needed to capture businesses that have experienced a significant decline in sales but do not meet the current qualifying threshold.

Commercial tenant protections also continue to be needed for those not benefiting from this program to relieve pressure while all stakeholders come to the table to develop immediate and long-term solutions. Some provinces, like New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, have already taken action on this front.

ABLE BC is working to see what other support we can get you. We will keep you updated.

New Buy BC E-commerce Platform

New Buy BC e-commerce funding is available to help the province’s farmers and food and beverage processors overcome some lost sales during the COVID-19 pandemic by moving their products online.

The BC government is providing $300,000 to support industry-led Buy BC e-commerce activities. The funding is under the Ministry of Agriculture’s Buy BC Partnership Program. 

It helps farmers, ranchers and food and beverage processors market their products as locally grown, raised, harvested or produced, making it easy for British Columbians to Buy BC.

The program provides financial support to access and develop websites that accommodate online sales and helps cover the costs of marketing and shipping products to consumers throughout the province.

Online applications are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis, from May 15 to May 29, or when the funding is fully subscribed. 

The provincial government’s Buy BC Partnership Program is delivered by the Investment Agriculture Foundation of British Columbia. For Buy BC application details, visit:

Join Breaking Bread: online platform to let customers know what you’re offering

Breaking Bread is a made-in-Vancouver online hub that connects more than 1,800 bars, restaurants, cafes, wineries, breweries and more with consumers across the country looking to support small, independent restaurants in their neighbourhoods.

If you’re an independent foodservice or restaurant business, we encourage you to sign up free of charge.

Use this unique platform to let your customers know what services you are offering, and how and when will you be reopening.

Survey: BC Chamber of Commerce Road to Recovery Pulse Check

As BC’s economy begins to reopen, the BC Chamber of Commerce is now launching the third COVID-19 ‘Pulse Check’ Survey

As you know, the chamber has been tracking the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on BC businesses via a series of surveys – done in partnership with the BC Business Council, the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, The Mustel Group, and all of you.

Survey results are shared directly with government. 

As in previous ‘pulse checks’, the BC Chamber wants to know the most recent impacts to your business, and the efficacy of existing government supports.

However, they’re also asking about BC’s Restart Plan, announced by the Premier on May 6-and the impacts you’re anticipating under the new guidelines. 

Take the survey here.

Call for comprehensive Federal Paid Sick Leave Program

ABLE BC, along with the BCRFA and BC Craft Brewers Guild, have written to Premier Horgan and Members of Parliament to express our support for the government’s call for paid sick leave to be provided for at a federal level for all employees

In order to build consumer confidence, we feel that British Columbian hospitality workers must be able to prioritize their health and reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus by staying home if they are sick.

However, we know that staff continue to be unable to afford to do so – and given the mounting financial challenges that operators are facing, they cannot afford to take on this additional financial pressure.

In order to reopen, businesses need supports at every level – including essential support in providing their staff paid sick leave.

Providing paid sick leave through a Federal program will also help hospitality employers in building essential trust with employees they are rehiring when reopening dining-in is permitted.

We will keep you updated on this issue.

For more information:

Public Health Agency of Canada Website

Updates from the Government of British Columbia

Updates and Resources from ABLE BC

Human Resources & Occupational Health & Safety Info from go2HR

If you have any other questions or concerns, please contact ABLE BC:
604-688-5560 or

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