May 27, 2021

Dear ABLE BC Members and Industry Colleagues,

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

  • BC’s Restart Plan: indoor dining allowed and more good news
  • Restart Plan: Frequently Asked Questions
  • Join ABLE BC at our monthly Q&A: June 24
  • Paid sick leave for COVID-19 now in effect
  • COVID-19 Vaccination Workplace Policy
  • City of Vancouver waives permit fees for patios
  • Patio heater safety checklist
  • Webinar: Hospitality Labour Shortage
  • New B SAFE Program: Health and Safety Training for hospitality industry
  • Talent MATCH is here to help you hire students
  • Vaccine registration reminder

Find all past COVID-19 updates here.

BC’s Restart Plan: indoor dining allowed and more good news

With indoor dining restored, we are taking the first step toward economic recovery. For the first time in 15 months, we can all feel optimistic about our shared future.

Read our May 25th update for more details on BC’s Restart Plan or visit this webpage.

Restart Plan: Frequently Asked Questions

Are kitchen staff still required to wear masks while working? 

Yes, physical distancing and masks continue to be required in public indoor settings. The mask mandate is not expected to be lifted until Step 3 of the Restart Plan, earliest start date July 1.

When will live music be permitted? 

Live music is allowed under the current public health order, but it must be background music, not amplified, and no louder than the volume of normal conversation.

Find the full conditions on page 5 of the public order.

As far as allowing live music was it was ‘pre-COVID,’ this will likely happen under Step 3 of the Restart Plan(earliest start date July 1). In Step 3, there will be no group limits for dining, liquor service restrictions will be lifted, and nightclubs can operate with limited capacity.

When will the restrictions on hosting raffles, 50/50 draws, and giveaways be lifted?

We are working to get more clarity on these questions now, so should have a better answer for industry in the coming days.

Those conditions are tied with hosting gatherings and events and were first mentioned in a public order in March 2021 (see page 6 of the current order). It seems likely they could be lifted in Step 2 of the Restart Plan, when indoor seated organized gatherings of up to 50 people will be allowed. The earliest start date for Step 2 is June 15.

Are bars and restaurants allowed to promote events? 

No, the current public order states you must not engage in, permit, or promote an event that is prohibited under the Gatherings and Events order.

It seems likely these restrictions could be lifted in Step 2 of the Restart Plan, when the restrictions around indoor gatherings are loosened. The earliest start date for Step 2 is June 15.

We are working to get clarity on this and will keep industry posted.

When will nightclubs be allowed to reopen?

Under BC’s Restart Plan, nightclubs can reopen with a limited capacity in step 3. The earliest start date is July 1. In Step 3, physical distancing requirements will also be removed and liquor service restrictions will be lifted.

Government will be consulting with industry associations on what it means for a nightclub to reopen with limited capacity. We will have more details for you in the coming weeks.

While the dates of the Restart Plan are approximate and tied to COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, we are optimistic that nightclubs will be allowed to reopen July 1. You can view the full plan here.

Will we back to full occupancy and have entertainment and dancing in Step 3? 

Physical distancing and masks will not be required in Step 3 of BC’s Restart Plan. There will be no group limit for indoor and outdoor dining, liquor service restrictions will be lifted, and nightclubs can operate with a limited capacity. It seems likely entertainment and dancing will be allowed in Step 3.

Businesses will have to operate based on a new sector COVID-19 Safety Plan. We will be working with government on this in the coming weeks and provide updates as soon as we can.

Join ABLE BC at our monthly Q&A: June 24

ABLE BC members and industry colleagues are invited to join us at our next monthly Q&A with Executive Director Jeff Guignard: Thursday, June 24 at 10:00 am PT. 

RSVP here. A Zoom link will be provided once you RSVP.

What to expect during this one-hour meeting: 

  • Catch up on anything you’ve missed over the last month
  • Hear directly from our Executive Director about the state of BC’s liquor industry
  • Get an update on our advocacy work and progress
  • Ask questions about liquor policy, regulations, public health orders, and government relations
  • We’ll also be joined by members of ABLE BC’s Board of Directors 

Paid sick leave for COVID-19 now in effect

Effective May 20, 2021, workers can take up to three days of paid sick leave for circumstances related to COVID-19.

This means that if a person is sick with COVID-19, needs to self-isolate because of a public health order, or has symptoms and is waiting for a test result, they will be immediately supported to stay home from work without any gap in their paycheque, for up to three days.

Employers will be reimbursed for up to $200 per day for each worker who is eligible for paid sick leave. WorkSafeBC is now setting up the reimbursement program to administer on behalf of the Province. Once launched, employers can apply for reimbursement for wages paid for COVID-19 sick leave from May 20 until December 31, 2021.

Details on the reimbursement program and how to register will be available in June.

On May 21, Minister of Labour Harry Bains also confirmed that government will be working over the next several months to develop a permanent paid sick leave program – for any illness or injury. The permanent model will be effective on January 1, 2022.

COVID-19 Vaccination Workplace Policy

Can employers require that employees take the COVID-19 vaccine?

With almost 70 per cent of eligible British Columbians having had their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, we know employers are wondering whether they can mandate that their employees take the vaccine.

ABLE BC Associate Member and Lawyer Ryan Anderson and his firm (Mathews, Dinsdale & Clarke LLP) offer some guidance: read it here.

City of Vancouver waives permit fees for patios

Vancouver’s city council has voted to waive patio permit fees for 2021 in light of the extreme financial difficulties many restaurants have faced during the pandemic. 

The city estimates waived fees will result in around $1.2 million in reduced revenue for the city. Businesses are still required to apply for their annual patio permit. Refunds or credits (if preferred) will be available to all businesses who have already paid their 2021 annual patio permit fee.

For more information, please click here.

Patio heater safety checklist

Technical Safety BC, in partnership with the Canadian Propane Association, created a patio heater safety checklist to help ensure restaurants and bars are operating patio heaters safely.

Download the checklist.

Webinar: Hospitality Labour Shortage

Join the BCRFA for a 1-hour webinar on June 8 at 10:00 am PT. They will be answering your questions and providing solutions to help restaurants fill vacant positions (including part-time dishwashers, bussing staff, hostesses, and line cooks).

Register here.

New B SAFE Program: Health and Safety Training for hospitality industry

BSAFE is a new online training course that teaches tourism and hospitality workers about COVID-19 safety protocols and handling non-compliant guests. The program launched today and is free to workers in BC’s tourism and hospitality industry. Sign-up here.

Upon successful completion of the course and quiz, participants will receive a certificate of achievement. Employers who have 75% of their workforce successfully complete the training course will be recognized with a “BSAFE Trained” decal. Display this decal to demonstrate your commitment to providing a safe environment for guests and workers, thereby increasing consumer confidence. 

Learn more and register here.

Talent MATCH is here to help you hire students

Thinking about hiring a student? Student talent can bring fresh skills to your organization and increase your capacity. But if maneuvering the post-secondary system seems daunting… good news! Talent MATCH can help you navigate the whole process.

Talent MATCH is a partnership between the Association for Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning BC/Yukon (ACE-WIL), the BC Alliance for Arts + Culture, the BC Museums Association, and go2HR. The program aims to make it easier for museums, arts, tourism, culture, and hospitality organizations to hire students. 

The Talent MATCH Program has created a Simplified Recruitment Guide focused on hospitality and tourism management programs, as well as culinary arts programs across BC. It lists schools by program type, tells you when students are available for job placements, and provides basic information to help you recruit student talent. 

If you need more help or information, Talent MATCH can help. One-on-one consulting is available, as well as downloadable resources including information on wage subsidy programs, recruitment tips, and sample interview questions, and a job posting portal that shares your job with as many schools across the province as you want.

For more information, visit the Talent MATCH webpage or contact Project Manager Debby Reis at to get started and for direct support.

Vaccine registration reminder

As the province moves forward with its restart plan, it is critical that everyone register online to be a part of the vaccine registration system. All people ages 12+ are now able to get vaccinated. If you received an AstraZeneca vaccine through a pharmacy and booked through their system, you still need to register online. And, if you or someone you know registered before April 7th, which includes seniors, Indigenous people or people who are critically vulnerable, they may need to re-register.

Learn more and register here.

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