September 21, 2020

Dear ABLE BC members and industry colleagues,

Following a meeting with Lieutenant Governor Janet Austin this morning to officially dissolve BC’s minority parliament, Premier Horgan said he is calling the election now – because delaying the vote would “create uncertainty and instability over the [next] 12 months.”

Election Day in BC will be Saturday, October 24, 2020 – almost a full year ahead of the set election date of October 16, 2021.

Advanced polls will take place Friday, October 16 to Wednesday, October 21, 2020.

ABLE BC will be preparing an election toolkit for members in the days ahead, with suggested talking points and questions to ask your local candidates. I will also be personally connecting with all political parties to ensure they are aware of our industry’s serious financial challenges and the types of urgent support you need to weather this crisis.

The election comes at a time when BC remains in a province-wide state of emergency and two declared public health emergencies: the COVID-19 pandemic and the overdose crisis.

During this time, ministers do stay in their portfolios until the writs are returned and the new cabinet is sworn in. The government has also designated Finance Minister Carole James as the “stay behind Minister” who will lead the response to these important challenges.

Under the BC Public Health Act, broad powers reside with the Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. Her updates and orders will continue.

Despite the election putting a pause on some of ABLE BC’s advocacy work, our work with government bureaucrats and the Provincial Health Officer will continue. This includes our ongoing efforts to amend the current public order so that it does not punish the vast majority of operators who have been meeting or exceeding stringent public health protocols, and working with our federal partners on extending necessary financial supports. I’ll offer further updates in the days and weeks ahead.

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

Province updates measures to enforce COVID-19 public safety

On September 20, BC government announced that the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth is aligning the Province’s ticketing measures with the provincial health officer’s (PHO) updated orders on Food and Liquor Serving Premises and Gatherings and Events, giving police and other provincial enforcement officers the ability to issue violation tickets for contraventions.

All ticketing measures previously announced on August 21, 2020, to enforce COVID-19 public safety at gatherings and events will remain in effect and will be expanded.

In addition to previously announced ticketing measures on gatherings and events, the measures announced yesterday include the following provisions, which are also subject to ticketing and enforcement:

  • The holding of any event in a banquet hall is prohibited
  • Nightclubs must cease operating as nightclubs
  • Background music or other background sounds, such as from televisions, must be no louder than the volume of normal conversation
  • Liquor sales for onsite consumption must cease by 10 pm
  • Unless a full meal service is provided, premises must close by 11 pm and all patrons must vacate the premises. If a full meal service is provided, premises may stay open, but liquor must not be served until 11 am the following day.
  • Liquor must not be consumed on premises by owners, operators or staff after 11 pm
  • Liquor service at private events must cease at 10 pm
  • If food or liquor serving premises hold private events, like wedding receptions, the same rules that hotels and other venues must follow apply to these premises.

The enforcement focus will continue to be on $2,000 fines to owners, operators and organizers for contraventions of the PHO’s orders. Individual patrons may be levied with $200 fines.

For more information, please refer to the backgrounder at the bottom of the news release.

Note from ABLE BC:

Our industry asked for increased enforcement of bad operators, and we strongly support serious and penalties for bad operators and those British Columbians who refuse to follow the rules.

Obviously we would have preferred that government start with increased enforcement – instead of blanket closures for our industry – but we will continue working with government to amend the public order.

If you have any other questions or concerns, please contact ABLE BC:

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