Salons, spas discover long licensing process to serve alcohol
Only 2 businesses have been licensed since Manitoba government changed liquor rules in April
A little pampering with a glass of wine or cocktail seems like a natural fit, but Manitoba salon and spa owners that want to serve liquor are learning there are many steps to becoming licensed.
The provincial government changed its liquor regulations in April, allowing alcohol to be served at spas and hair salons.
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But only two businesses have been licensed so far, while 12 other spas and salons have posted public notices of their intent to serve liquor, the Liquor and Gaming Authority of Manitoba said Friday.
The authority says so far, no one has objected to the businesses' plans to serve alcohol.
The businesses that are currently selling liquor are both in Winnipeg — Élan Hair Studio on Sherbrook Street and Total Wrapture Medi Spa on Ness Avenue.
Mark Braun of Salon Pop on Lorette Avenue says he is trying to get licensed, and he was initially surprised by how much paperwork is involved.
"They say that, you know, it could take up to six weeks, but at the moment I'm already at two months in," he said.
"The process is quite extensive. I was a little taken aback by the process just because there's so many different things."
Among other things, Braun said he has to provide letters of incorporation, proof of his business and zoning permits, and Liquor and Gaming officials must conduct background checks on staff.
"Everyone in the business that is going to be serving, like all my stylists and all the apprentices that are, of course, over the age of 18, they also need to take a little course online which takes about 90 minutes and it's called Serving it Safe," he added.
'It is a lot of steps,' says liquor authority
As well, licensed establishments are subject to a number of conditions — for example, they must have a designated area where alcohol can be served, and they have to make snacks available to patrons.
The process is so long that the first two permits were issued recently, on July 11.
"It is a lot of steps and we understand that," said Kristianne Dechant, a spokesperson with the Liquor and Gaming Authority of Manitoba.
"We're always focusing on balancing creating new opportunities for businesses with making sure that liquor service and sales in the province are safe."
Back at Salon Pop, Braun said he wants clients to relax with a glass of wine or beer if they want, but he also knows safety is important.
"This is not, you know, just applying for a basic hairdressing licence. You're dealing with people's lives," he said.
"If somebody comes into your establishment and has two, three, four drinks and you don't know that they're on some type of medication, then you could get into a lot of trouble. So they want to make sure that you recognize that you're responsible."
Below is the Liquor and Gaming Authority of Manitoba's full list of terms and conditions that salons and spas must follow if they want to be licensed to sell alcohol: