May 07, 2020

Dear ABLE BC Members and Industry Colleagues, 

This afternoon, BC Premier Horgan outlined government’s plan to restart British Columbia safely

Please see below for full details on BC’s Restart Plan.

However, as you will note, many questions remain unanswered for BC’s liquor industry and the economy at large – including when the reopening will actually begin.

Government is now asking individual sectors to provide specific reopening plans and protocols. ABLE BC is working on this now. We will share more details with you in the coming days and have a Liquor Primary Reopening Best Practices Guide available to you next week.

We will also be creating a Liquor Retailer Best Practices Guide.

Call for Liquor Primary Operators: if you are a LP owner/operator who wants to help ABLE BC in creating the Liquor Primary Reopening Best Practices Guide, we invite you to attend a virtual meeting with ABLE BC’s Executive Director Jeff Guignard on Friday, May 8 at 2:00 pm

During the one-hour meeting, Jeff will share an overview of the reopening best practices and request your feedback and input. 

Please email Danielle to confirm your attendance and get the Zoom meeting link:

If you are unavailable on Friday at 2:00 pm, but would still like to be involved in creating the LP Reopening Best Practices, please email

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

  • BC’s Restart Plan: reopening the province
  • 1-minute ABLE BC survey: Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program
  • Free Labatt Webinar: Navigating the Alcohol Industry in the Era of COVID-19
  • One-on-one support program available to BC tourism businesses: BC Tourism Resiliency Network
  • Canadian Hospitality Worker Relief Fund: applications open today
  • Helpful links and resources

Find all past updates from ABLE BC here

If you have any other questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us: or

BC’s Restart Plan: reopening the province

Today, BC Premier Horgan outlined government’s plan to restart BC safely.

Quick Facts – what you need to know: 

  • Pubs can reopen in “mid-May” with sufficient social distancing measures and enhanced health and safety protocols
  • It is unclear when nightclubs and casinos will be able to reopen 
  • The restrictions of large gatherings (no greater than 50 people) remains

The Restart Plan has 4 phases: 

  • BC is currently in phase 1
  • Phase 2 will begin in mid-May; a specific start-date has not yet been given, but it will likely be around the May long weekend
  • Phase 3 is targeted to take place from June to September
  • Phase 4 will only be achieved when the threat of COVID-19 has been significantly diminished through widespread vaccination, broad successful treatments, evidence of community immunity, or the equivalent 

Phase 2 (mid-May) will include reopening and restarting the following under enhanced protocols: 

  • Small social gatherings: i.e. of 2-6 people
  • Elective surgeries and regulated health services like physiotherapy, dentistry, chiropractors, and in-person counselling
  • Provincial parks for day-use starting May 14 and reopen many remaining facilities, including campgrounds on June 1
  • More non-essential businesses in keeping with safe operations plans, including:
    • Restaurants, cafes, and pubs with sufficient social distancing measures
    • Hair salons, barbers, and other personal service establishments
    • Museums, art galleries, libraries 
    • Office-based worksites
    • Other parks, beaches, and outdoor spaces
    • Transit services 
    • Recreation and sports
    • Childcare
  • Recall provincial legislature for regular sittings

WorkSafeBC is developing industry-specific guidance to help employers bring workers and customers back safely. 

Any business restarting operations must ensure it is in compliance with the provincial health officer’s orders and in accordance with occupational health and safety guidance provided by WorkSafeBC. 

ABLE BC has reached out to WorkSafeBC for greater clarity on what will be required of liquor primaries. We will be working directly with them to suggest appropriate protocols for LP members.

Phase 3 (June to September) will include reopening and restarting the following under enhanced protocols:

  • Hotels and resorts (June)
  • More parks, including some overnight camping (June)
  • Film industry (June/July)
  • Select entertainment, like movies and symphony, but not large concerts (July)
  • Post-secondary education, with a mix of online and in-class (September)
  • K-12 education, with only a partial return this school year (September)

The government has repeatedly emphasized said: “A strong emphasis on personal hygiene for all British Columbians, including hand washing, physical distancing and staying at home if you are sick, will be crucial for the success of every phase of the plan.”

Even with these timelines in place, the province admitted that further challenges await when it comes to getting everything fully reopened, including reopening the following:

  • Night clubs
  • Casinos 
  • Conventions
  • Live audience professional sports
  • Concerts
  • International tourism

Helpful Links

1-minute ABLE BC survey: Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program

Thank you to everyone who took the time to complete our first COVID-19 liquor industry survey. Your feedback is incredibly helpful. We received 150 responses and will share insights from the survey soon.

As you know, in response to the global COVID-19 crisis, the BC government and federal government have implemented new policy changes and announced economic programs to support businesses.

This includes the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program: a program announced by the federal government that will lower rent by 75% for small businesses that have been affected by COVID-19. It is expected to be operational by mid-May.

ABLE BC would like your feedback on the effectiveness of the CECRA program. Please complete our 1-minute survey on the program.

If you have any questions or concerns about this survey, please contact ABLE BC:

Free Labatt Webinar: Navigating the Alcohol Industry in the Era of COVID-19

Labatt invites you to join them for a free webinar on Monday, May 11 at 11:00 am PT: Navigating the Alcohol Industry in the Era of COVID-19.

Sign-up for this one-hour webinar here

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to drive unprecedented change within the food and beverage sector. Economic and social challenges are changing consumers’ shopping and consumption behaviour, and there continues to be a wide-reaching impact on supply chains, shopping experiences, and what’s available for consumers on store shelves.

As we navigate through this pandemic, one thing is certain – there will be anew normal that will affect consumers and the way they shop. Will you be ready?

During this webinar, you will hear from Labatt’s Vice President of Sales, Ashik Bhat, on the future state of the alcohol and retail landscape

Bhat will share:

  • What other countries can tell us
  • How baskets are different from pre-COVID-19 behaviours
  • Trends underlying alcohol choices
  • Key learnings for the industry from this unique situation, including the opportunities ahead for retailers

Sign-up for this free webinar here.

One-on-one support program available to BC tourism businesses: BC Tourism Resiliency Network 

The newly launched BC Tourism Resiliency Network is a long-term resiliency program providing BC tourism businesses with meaningful, one-on-one support to navigate the impacts of COVID-19, adapt, and work towards eventual recovery.

The BC Regional Tourism Secretariat is leading the BC Tourism Resiliency Network. Each program will delivered in their respective regions by regional associations.

What’s involved in the BC Tourism Resiliency Program and Network:

  • Tourism businesses will be paired with a Program Advisor in their own region who will provide guidance throughout their journey to long-term resiliency.
  • The Program Advisor will facilitate customized support for your business, including navigating available provincial and federal supports and access to Program Experts in areas such as Human Resources 
  • A digital resource hub – featuring webinars, information bulletins, and additional resources specific to BC’s tourism businesses 

Choose your region and register for the program today.

Canadian Hospitality Worker Relief Fund: applications open today

Some of Canada’s top chefs have launched the Canadian Hospitality Worker Relief Fund: a program to support restaurant and hospitality workers financially impacted by COVID-19.

Applications for the fund open today, giving hospitality workers the opportunity to apply for a $500 grant. 

These one-time grants will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis to eligible individuals who work in the restaurant and hospitality industry, including delivery people, who have been adversely impacted by the pandemic financially through a decrease in wages or loss of employment.

Learn more and apply here

Helpful Links and Resources

New resources, tools, and other content are being created at a rapid rate to support businesses during the COVID-19 crisis.

Here are some helpful links we have recently come across:

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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