British Columbia

B.C. offers to make temporary patio licences permanent

More than 2,000 temporary patios authorized to serve liquor during the COVID-19 pandemic can apply to become permanent under amended provincial liquor regulations.

Authorization for temporary patios extended through to June 1, 2022

Businesses such as the Camp Beer Company in Langley, B.C., can now choose to make their temporary patio licences permanent. (Camp Beer Company)

More than 2,000 temporary patios authorized to serve liquor in British Columbia during the COVID-19 pandemic can be made permanent under amended provincial regulations.

In a statement Tuesday, the province set out its plan to help small businesses such as restaurants, bars and breweries continue operating temporary expanded service patios to recover from the financial impact of COVID-19 restrictions, including patios supported by local governments that meet local bylaws.

"Temporary patios have been a lifeline for so many businesses and workers in the hospitality sector, and we're committed to making these expanded serving areas part of their long-term recovery and beyond," said Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth.

To ensure existing temporary patio spaces can operate without interruption as they transition to permanent status, the province has promised to extend their authorization through to June 1, 2022.

It will also continue to accept applications for new temporary outdoor patios until Oct. 31 this year.

The changes also provide local governments and First Nations more time to review eligible applications for permanent structural changes before temporary authorizations expire, and to consider the implications of permanent approval for their communities, the province said.

A patron sits on a patio of a restaurant in Vancouver, British Columbia on Friday May 29, 2020. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

'Uncommon and difficult times'

The B.C. Restaurant and Food Services Association says the announcement provides the certainty its members have been asking for.

"[Temporary outdoor patios] have been a make-or-break opportunity for so many operations struggling through these uncommon and difficult times," said president and CEO Ian Tostenson.

Local governments and First Nations will have until July 30 to raise concerns about existing authorizations in their jurisdiction.

Without a new authorization letter, existing temporary authorizations will expire Oct. 31, according to the statement.

More information can be found at B.C.'s Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch website.

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