March 26, 2020

Dear ABLE BC Members and Industry Colleagues,

This morning, Premier John Horgan and Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth announced British Columbia’s next steps to support the COVID-19 response.

Using the extraordinary powers under the Emergency Program Act, the minister is issuing a series of ministerial orders to ensure a co-ordinated response to COVID-19 across all levels of government for the duration of the provincial emergency. 

A summary of the ministerial orders can be found here.

The Province, in consultation with the Dr. Bonnie Henry, BC’s provincial health officer, has defined essential services British Columbians rely on in their daily lives in the context of COVID-19 response and recovery.

Included in BC’s list of essential services:

  • Liquor retail
  • Cannabis retail and cannabis producers 
  • Restaurants and other facilities that prepare and serve food, if operating under rules for social and physical distancing or other recommendations from the Provincial Health Officer 
  • Food processing, manufacturing, storage and distribution of foods, feed products and beverages
  • Hotels and places of accommodation

Find the full list of essential services at the bottom of the government news release (under Backgrounders).

In consultation with the provincial health officer, any business or service that has not been ordered to close, and is also not identified on the essential service list, may stay open if it can adapt its services and workplace to the orders and recommendations of the Provincial Health Officer.

ABLE BC has been actively engaged with our government partners since this emergency began to secure this essential designation for BC’s liquor industry. We greatly appreciate government’s confidence that our LRS and LP members – operating in full compliance with Public Health Orders – can continue to provide essential services to British Columbians during this crisis.

If you have any other questions or concerns, please contact ABLE BC: or We will send out our regular daily COVID-19 update later today. 

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