Coronavirus: B.C. will allow restaurants to deliver liquor, using unemployed servers

Strict new orders for B.C. restaurants as COVID-19 cases jump by another 77
(Aired March 20) Strict new orders for B.C. restaurants amid COVID-19 outbreak.

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.

READ MORE: B.C. orders all restaurants and bars to cease dine-in operations to limit COVID-19 spread

“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.”

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

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.

Story continues below advertisement
B.C.’s top doctor orders all bars, entertainment venues closed to fight COVID-19 pandemic
B.C.’s top doctor orders all bars, entertainment venues closed to fight COVID-19 pandemic

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.

READ MORE: Coronavirus pandemic could see 15% of B.C. restaurants close for good, says industry

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.

Despite the move, liquor stores across B.C. remain open for business, though many have reduced their operating hours.