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Alcohol purchase changes, patio space in consideration to help struggling B.C. restaurant industry

Last Updated May 13, 2020 at 10:04 pm PDT

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Summary

B.C. moving to allow restaurants to buy booze at wholesale prices, and streamline the process for opening up a patio

The Attorney General says it isn't finalized but is about lessening the financial blow to restaurants amid pandemic

The B.C. Restaurant and Food Services Association welcomes the coming changes

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — It’s a step in the right direction for at least one hurting industry in B.C., as the province is moving to allow restaurants to buy booze at wholesale prices, and streamline the process for opening up a patio.

Attorney General David Eby explains it isn’t finalized, but it’s all about helping the industry as it deals with the economic impact of COVID-19.

“We know the urgency for the restaurant industry around a couple of pieces. Many of their members are in dire financial straits because of the lack of business, and the other is on re-opening they’re going to need increased support of how people can dine in safely,” Eby says.

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“The premier has asked me to work with our regulator to identify ways we can expedite patio approvals. Currently, both the cities and provinces need to be involved in this process,” he adds.

Ian Tostenson, CEO of the B.C. Restaurant and Food Services Association, is welcoming the coming changes.

“We need every ounce of something to get back to some semblance of a new order. If this is happening the way it sounds like, it’s just really good news,” he says.

However, there have been warnings that many restaurants will not be able to survive this crisis.

Last week, Tostenson pointed out many restaurants won’t be able to sustain operations while serving fewer people to keep up with public health orders.

Meanwhile, Vancouver has passed a motion allowing restaurants and breweries to expand patio spaces.