The B.C. government will temporarily allow bars and restaurants to deliver liquor products along with food amid the coronavirus pandemic — and unemployed servers can be hired to make the deliveries.
The move announced on Sunday by the Ministry of Attorney General is meant to help restaurants that have been forced to close all dining rooms and patios and shift to take-out or delivery only.
“In these extraordinary times, more British Columbians are relying on delivery services during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Attorney General David Eby said in a statement.
“Permitting licensed restaurants to hire their out of work servers to deliver liquor products as part of their food-delivery service allows the public to continue to observe social distancing measures and also offers much-needed support to these workers and businesses.”
Customers will also be allowed to pick up beer, wine and spirits along with food, provided the liquor products are sealed. Seals must also remain in place for delivered products.
The change comes into effect immediately and will last until at least June 15, and can be extended or shortened by the government as needed.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry ordered all bars, cafes and restaurants to cease in-store dining on Friday.
Industry advocates have recognized the importance of the measure, but have cautioned it would put tens of thousands of employees out of work as a result.
Eby said allowing servers to make the liquor deliveries was suggested by the Business Technical Advisory Panel to help those struggling workers and businesses. The panel includes representatives of B.C.’s liquor and hospitality industries.
The attorney general added the province is continuing to find other ways to support the industries and “reduce the impact of this crisis.”
Agriculture Minister Lara Popham said the move will also help support workers at local distilleries, breweries and wineries.
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