April 27, 2021

Dear ABLE BC members and industry colleagues,

To help clarify confusion around patios, the Ministry of Health has published new ‘Guidance for Outside Dining Spaces.’

This document provides information on ways to comply with the Provincial Health Officer’s Order on Food and Liquor Serving Premises, specifically the requirements for providing outside food or drink services (e.g., on a patio).

We strongly encourage you to download and review the document and ensure your patio is in compliance.

As an owner or operator, this guidance will support you when preparing or amending your COVID-19 Safety Plan and outside dining set up. This document is also being used by health inspectors.

The document states: “Only patios that meet the requirements of the Food and Liquor Serving Premises Order to avoid crowding will be acceptable. Many patios that have been operating prior to April 21, 2021 would meet the requirements in the Order and can continue to operate. Some patios would not meet the requirements in the Order and will not be able to operate or must make changes to be able to operate.”

Inside the document you will find:

  • Definition of a patio
  • Capacity tips
  • Walls and air flow tips
  • Cooling and heating tips
  • Visual examples of acceptable outside dining spaces and unacceptable outside dining spaces
  • How to determine if your patio meets the open vertical space requirement of the Order

Download the guidance document here.

Note from ABLE BC: 

We understand this new guidance may require some of you to change your outdoor dining set up. While this may be frustrating, ABLE BC and our industry partners are doing everything we can to keep patios open. That’s why we worked with the Ministry of Health to get clarity on what is and isn’t allowed with outdoor dining.

It is imperative operators adhere to this guidance and the conditions laid out in the public order to keep outdoor dining open.

Please let us know any challenges you are experiencing with outdoor dining and we can relay that feedback to government. Email: info@ablebc.ca.

Updated Public Order for Food and Liquor Serving Premises

A updated public order for Food and Liquor Serving Premises was released on April 21, 2021. Download it here.

This order applies to restaurants, coffee shops, cafes, cafeterias, and food primary and liquor primary establishments, including pubs, bars, lounges, and nightclubs, liquor manufacturing facilities that have tasting rooms, and private clubs.

Key changes in the order: 

Patio is defined in detail as:

  • An area without a roof in which:
  • Any structure around the perimeter does not occupy more than 75% of the vertical space between the floor or ground and a point 2.4 metres above the floor or ground
  • The remaining 25% of the vertical space between the floor or ground and a point 2.4 metres above the floor or ground is completely open to outside air and has no structures in it, including between 1.2 metres to 1.8 metres above the floor or ground, other than lattice work or insect screens, and if this space is framed by a window or a door, the window or door is completely open while the premises are in operation
  • There are no structure or objects, other than physical barriers which block the transmission of droplets between patrons, which block the free flow of air in the interior of the area, OR
  • An area with a roof that is at least 2.4 metres above the floor or ground, in which:
  • Any structure around the perimeter does not occupy more than 50% of the vertical space between the floor or ground and a point 2.4 m above the floor or ground
  • The remaining 50% of the vertical space between the floor or ground and a point 2.4 metres above the floor or ground is completely open to outside air and has no structures in it, including between 1.2 metres to 1.8 metres above the floor or ground, other than lattice work or insect screens, and if this space is framed by a window or door, the window or door is completely open while the premises are in operation
  • There are no structures or objects, other than physical barriers which block the transmission of droplets between patrons, which block the free flow of air in the interior of the area

‘Roof’ and ‘completely open to outside air’ are also defined (see page 3). No person may add a wall to a patio, which is being used to provide food or drink services.

The section about contact tracing has been added back into the order (it was omitted in a previous version in error):

If, in the ordinary course of business, you collect information from patrons for the purpose of making reservations or seating patrons:

  • You must collect the first and last name and telephone number, or email address, of at least one member of every party of patrons
  • You may collect this information from other members of a party or from other patrons who wish to provide it
  • You must retain this information for 30 days, in case there is a need for contact tracing on the part of the medical health officer, in which case you must provide the information to the medical health officer

The conditions for a tasting room with a liquor manufacturer license having patrons inside for the purpose of tasting have been reformatted slightly. Please see page 7 for details.

Reminder: no person may sell liquor between 10:00 pm and 9:00 am on the following day. No person, including a patron, owner, operator, or staff member may consume liquor on the premises after 11:00 pm.

All other conditions from the prior public order remain in place. Download the order for more information.

This order expires at midnight on May 24, 2021.

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

New Policy Directive: Family Foodservice term and condition, Liquor Primary licensees 

Today, the LCRB released Policy Directive 21-07: Family Foodservice term and condition, Liquor Primary licensees.

Prior to this new policy, Liquor Primary (LP) licensees with a Family Foodservice (FFS) term and condition could permit minors accompanied by a parent or guardian in their establishment until 10:00 pm.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the provincial state of emergency, and the Provincial Health Officer’s order prohibiting the sale of liquor and food and liquor serving premises after 10:00 pm, the LCRB General Manager is putting in place a time-limited measure to support LP licensees with a FFS term and condition.

Licensees with a FFS term and condition are temporarily authorized to permit minors accompanied by a parent or guardian in the service area beyond 10:00 pm.

This new policy is effective immediately and is only applicable as long as the provincial health order that prohibits the sale of liquor in food and liquor serving premises after 10:00 pm remains in effect. LP licensees do not need to submit an application to change their FFS term and condition.

Note: this temporary measures does not override any additional requirements or limitations placed on a business by a local government or First Nation with jurisdiction in the area in which the establishment operations.

For more information, please read the policy directive.

Note from ABLE BC: 

Thanks to ABLE BC Associate Member Bert Hick, President of Rising Tide Consultants, for bringing this issue to our attention and helping us find a workable solution that we could advance with government.


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