Liquor licence rules relaxed for Rio Theatre
Further changes coming promises minister
The B.C. government has changed the rules around liquor licensing to allow theatres and other live venues to show movies and pay-per-view events and keep their liquor licences, but one owner says the changes don't go far enough.
Previously the rules prevented any live venue with a liquor licence from showing movies or pay-per-view broadcasts at anytime.
That led the owners of the Rio Theatre in Vancouver, local councillors and the NDP opposition to call for a reform of the province's liquor laws.
Under the new rules live venues with liquor licences will be allowed to show movies and pay-per-view shows, but they will still not be able to serve liquor during those events.
The move comes the day after Energy and Mining Minister Rich Coleman took over the oversight of the province's liquor laws from Attorney General Shirley Bond.
"Licence holders will have the ability to choose the days of the week and hours of the day they wish to have liquor service, and are free to screen films or broadcasts on the other days and times of the week," said a statement issued by the Ministry of Energy and Mines.
However Rio Theatre owner Corinne Lea says the new rules don't accommodate the needs of her business, because they are not flexible enough to allow day to day changes.
"You've done your best to fill the schedule with live events, but occasionally you have a week that's dry, there are no bands touring, there is just nothing happening that week. We need the flexibility to put in movies wherever our nights are not booked with live events," she said.
Lea says she plans to continue fighting the government to have the remaining restrictions relaxed, but that may not be necessary says Coleman.
More changes coming
The minister says his staff has already been instructed to further streamline and simplify the process in the coming days.
"They should be able to let you know within 24 hours or 48 hours notice that they are putting on an event that they are they are not going to be serving liquor, send you an email and let you know in advance," he said.
"It shouldn't have to be complex and a lot of paperwork and a lot of scheduling for small business."
Coleman also hinted over the next few weeks more changes will come in regards to theatres, but wouldn't be specific.