May 25, 2020

Dear ABLE BC Members and Industry Colleagues, 

In case you missed this morning’s email, we shared some good news: the LCRB announced temporarily authorizing the expansion of service areas, such as patios. This change is meant to help support physical distancing requirements and industry recovery during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can read more about it below.

We hope you enjoy a safe, happy, and profitable weekend. We’ll be back with our next update on Tuesday. As always, if you have any additional questions or need to reach us you can email: or

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

  • LCRB announces temporary extension of patio and service areas
  • Liquor Primary Zoom Meeting today: recording available 
  • Nightclub Zoom Meeting on Tuesday
  • Reminder: Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance applications open on Monday
  • Podcast interview with ABLE BC Executive Director and BCRFA CEO
  • Minimum wage increase scheduled for June 1 will go ahead
  • WorkSafeBC inspections
  • BDO Webinar on May 27: Key considerations for adapting to the new normal

Find all past updates from ABLE BC here.

LCRB announces temporary extension of patio and service areas

Government has taken action to support BC’s hospitality sector by temporarily authorizing the expansion of service areas, such as patios.

This change is meant to help support physical distancing requirements and industry recovery during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Read the full government news release here.

The LCRB will now permit food-primary, liquor-primary, and manufacturer licensees such as wineries, breweries, and distilleries, to apply through a simplified online process to temporarily expand their service areas until October 31, 2020.

The temporary authorizations are focused on expanding a licensed service area’s footprint only and will not permit an increase in an establishment’s overall occupancy. Licensees must comply with all local bylaws and liquor-primary and manufacturer licensees must also receive the approval of their local government.

There are no fees associated with the temporary expansion applications, which will be reviewed in the order they are received using an expedited approval process for faster processing times. While there will not be a site inspection prior to approval of the permit, inspectors will conduct regular compliance inspections.

This positive change is in direct response to the advocacy work of the Business Technical Advisory Panel, as well as ABLE BC and our industry partners the BCRFA, BC Craft Brewers Guild, and BC Wine Institute. 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.

For more information:

Liquor Primary Zoom Meeting Today: Recording Available 

Earlier this afternoon, ABLE BC hosted a Zoom meeting to answer your questions about liquor primary reopening protocols. View a recording of the meeting here.

Links referenced during the meeting:

Nightclub Owners and Operators: Zoom Meeting on May 26

Regrettably, nightclubs are not included in the current 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: Tuesday, May 26 at 10:00 am PT.

Please RSVP here. Upon receiving your RSVP, we will send you a Zoom meeting link.

Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance: applications open next week 

Applications for the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program open on May 25.

The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance “offers unsecured, forgivable loans to eligible commercial property owners to: reduce the rent owed by their impacted small business tenants, and meet operating expenses on commercial properties.”

Property owners must offer a minimum of a 75% rent reduction for the months of April, May and June 2020.

Today, Prime Minister Trudeau confirmed the federal and provincial governments will help cover 50% of the rent. Tenants would pay 25%, and landlords would take a 25% hit.

Tenants can also use programs like the Canada Emergency Business Account to cover rent.

Learn more about the program here.

Find out how you can get ready to apply for the program here.

Podcast interview with ABLE BC Executive Director and BCRFA CEO

With bars and restaurants reopening this week, Shawn Soole (Soole Hospitality) hosted a livestream Q&A with ABLE BC Executive Director Jeff Guignard and BCRFA President & CEO Ian Tostenson. 

Listen to this episode of the Post Shift Shot podcast here.

During the episode, they chat about the fundamentals in reopening, new legislation, and answer listener questions.

Minimum wage increase scheduled for June 1 will go ahead

Despite industry collective efforts to delay the scheduled minimum wage increase and offer businesses much-needed relief, Labour Minister Harry Bains has confirmed the province will move ahead with the planned minimum wage increase on June 1 $14.60 an hour, from $13.85 an hour.

We are deeply frustrated and disappointed with the Minister’s decision to ignore our industry’s urgent financial realities at this time. We encourage members to write directly to Minister Bains to express disappointment at:

Read more about BC minimum wage increase here.

WorkSafeBC will be conducting random inspections as businesses reopen

As businesses across a variety of sectors continue to reopen under BC’s restart plan, Labour Minister Harry Bains said all businesses will be subject to random inspections from WorkSafeBC to ensure provincial guidelines and regulations are being followed.

“They will be conducting random inspections to ensure these guidelines are being followed as well as the guidelines from the provincial health officer,” Minister Bains confirmed during a press conference this week.

These inspections, he said, “are for all businesses that are reopening, and every business that is reopening – or has already opened – is subject to those inspections.”

Minister Bains stressed these inspections could happen anywhere, at any time, in any sector. For those that are found not adhering to the guidelines, “there are provisions for penalties in there as well.”

Reminder: the province said every employer is required to have a coronavirus safety plan that assesses the risk of exposure at their workplace and implements measures to keep their workers safe. If a formal plan is not already in place prior to operation, the employer is expected to develop it while protecting the safety of their workers.

This plan must be posted at the worksite and your website. During a WorkSafeBC inspection, the employer will be asked about the steps they have taken to protect their workers and to see the plan if it has been developed.

Find a sample COVID-19 safety plan here

Learn more about developing your safety plan here.

BDO Webinar on May 27: Key considerations for adapting to the new normal

Join BDO and the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce on May 27 at 9:30 am PT for a Business Smarts Online webinar

In this session, they will uncover three primary areas where you may be rethinking your future operations – including forecasting, staffing, IT investments, and risk management. The guest speakers will explore the possibilities, potential barriers and alternative solutions.

Topics covered:

  • Business Modelling and the New Reality
  • Digital Solutions and Collaborating from Home
  • Business Continuity Plan – A Case Study

Guest speakers:

  • Kristine Simpson (Partner, Not-For-Profit Leader, BDO)
  • Ryan Berkholtz (Business Development Executive, Consulting for Not-for-Profit Organizations, BDO)
  • John Asher (Senior Manager, West Region Lead Risk Advisory Services, BDO)

Learn more and register here.

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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