Premier Christy Clark supports Happy Hours
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Premier Announces Common Sense Liquor Law Changes

B.C. toasts happy hours, hospitality, legion changes

Vancouver, BC – Premier Christy Clark announced the B.C. government's support today for a second set of key liquor changes that will create opportunities for small businesses and legions and open up new dining options for B.C. families, while continuing to protect public safety.

“These made-in-BC changes will definitely help the growth of the BC restaurant industry. We will continue to work with the Premier and her cabinet to implement these changes that have been outlined by the public and the industry,” said Ian Tostenson, president & CEO of the BCRFA.

Specifically, with the Liquor Policy Review recommendations announced today, government is supporting:
  • Small businesses and the hospitality industry, through changes like common-sense licensing and happy hours.
  •  Places like pubs, legions and membership clubs by making changes to create more family-friendly environments.
  • Health, safety and social responsibility by enhancing B.C.'s SIR program.
"These changes are about updating antiquated licensing rules to reflect what British Columbians actually want, while continuing to protect public safety," said Premier Clark. "Families should be able to dine together in their neighbourhood pub. Consumers should be free to order whatever they want in a restaurant. These are exactly the kind of common-sense changes to B.C.'s liquor laws we promised to make - and we're keeping that promise."

With minimum drink pricing consistent with the views that Parliamentary Secretary John Yap heard from health advocates during the B.C. Liquor Policy Review, the B.C. government will be opening the door to time-limited drink specials - such as happy hours.

Other changes that will benefit the hospitality industry include simplified, common-sense licensing rules. If patrons do not wish to eat, they will no longer be required to order food when they are in a food-primary establishment. Also, customers will be permitted to move freely with their beverage from one adjoining licensed area to another.

The B.C. government will further increase flexibility around licensing by giving liquor-primary establishments and clubs, such as legions, the option to accommodate minors up until a certain hour in the evening. This means, for example, that parents will be able to take their kids for a bite to eat at a pub or to enjoy some music at a legion that chooses to be family friendly.

Balancing these changes with health and safety in mind, the Province will extend SIR to all hospitality industry workers who serve alcohol. This will include, for the first time, all servers in B.C.'s 5,600 licensed restaurants, as well as staff at BC Liquor Stores and rural agency and wine stores. A specialized version of SIR will be required for licensees and personnel who serve at special occasion licensed events, such as banquets or weddings.

These changes align with recommendations put forward in Yap's report. Government's support for these eight recommendations builds on a set of 12 others announced last week by Premier Clark that will benefit tourism, small businesses and liquor manufacturers. It is anticipated that Yap's report on the review will be publicly released prior to Feb. 15, 2014, once Cabinet has had the opportunity to fully consider its 70-plus recommendations.

View official press release
View BC Government official news release

For more information, please contact:
Ian Tostenson
Mobile 604-986-1429
Copyright © 2013 BCRFA, All rights reserved.

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