PEI

Liquor deliveries allowed during pandemic will be permanent on P.E.I.

The P.E.I. government says liquor delivery service first allowed when the COVID-19 pandemic began in the spring will be made permanent.

Province says breweries, restaurants and more will benefit economically

Drivers for Lone Oak brewery in Borden-Carleton put a lot of kilometres on their van after beginning home deliveries during the pandemic. (Lone Oak Brewing Co.)

The P.E.I. government says liquor delivery service first allowed on a temporary basis when the COVID-19 pandemic began in the spring will be made permanent.   

The move is something P.E.I.'s craft beer industry has been seeking from the province, as their sales plummeted during the pandemic lockdown. Back in April, the P.E.I. Craft Beer Alliance sent a letter to the P.E.I. Liquor Control Commission, asking for liquor deliveries to be allowed permanently, among several other measures such as waiving licensing and marketing fees and eliminating a hefty tax on draft sold in kegs. 

Friday, the province said it will change P.E.I.'s Liquor Control Act regulations to allow agency liquor stores, micro-breweries, wineries, distilleries, ferment-on-premise establishments and restaurants with a package sales licence to offer home delivery.

The law has also been changed to allow dining rooms to serve up to two drinks to patrons without purchasing food, similar to many other provinces. 

"It's quicker turnaround for the customer," said Jamie MacLeod, acting CEO of the P.E.I. Liquor Control Commission, noting six other provinces have also moved to make deliveries permanent. MacLeod said he has received feedback from affected businesses and they're extremely pleased with the move.

Those making deliveries must have a server's certificate, buyers' ID must be confirmed, purchasers can't be intoxicated, sales records must be retained for a year, and deliveries must be made during the business's hours, MacLeod said. 

'Industry is struggling'

"These changes will benefit Island businesses while allowing Islanders to stay safe and limit their contact with others," said Minister of Finance and Minister Responsible for the Liquor Control Commission Darlene Compton, in a written release. 

"We must continue to do what we can to ensure the safety of Islanders and the sustainability of our businesses as we work together and support our local economy."

"At a time when our industry is struggling, these positive changes will help our business survive and recover," said Luc Erjavec, vice-president Atlantic for Restaurants Canada, in the release. 

"These changes will allow restaurateurs to responsibly serve their customers safely, and in a way they want to be served."

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