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B.C. orders 8 p.m. New Year's Eve cutoff for liquor service, sales

Last Updated Dec 30, 2020 at 6:54 pm PST


You won't be able to order a glass of bubbly on New Year's Eve at your favourite restaurant after 8 p.m.

B.C.'s top doctor is ordering restaurants, bars and stores to stop booze sales early to slow the spread of the virus

485 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last day in B.C. and 11 people have died

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) — Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has issued a public health order requiring restaurants, pubs and stores to cut off liquor sales and service by 8 p.m. on New Year’s Eve.

In a last-minute telephone news conference, Henry says the new provincial order is to manage concerns around parties.

“We are concerned that leading into New Year’s Eve, particularly in some of our resort communities in some of the areas that we have traditionally seen parties developed … often from a public health perspective that is fueled by people indulging a bit too much in alcohol,” she says.

“In order to temper some of this risk, I will be issuing an order that now applies to a revision of the Food and Liquor Serving Premises order.”

Henry explains the purpose of the order is to decrease the “late-night consumption of alcohol,” which can lead to “risky behaviour” like parties and large gatherings, resulting in the increased transmission of this virus.

But Henry says if you have reservations at a restaurant, she ensures meal service will continue.

“I know that many restaurants are planning to a two, and the second seating generally happens around 7:00 to 7:30 so this does give the opportunity for people to order wine or whatever with their meal.”

Jean-Francis Quaglia, a chef and owner of Provence Marinaside, tells NEWS 1130 the restaurant is under pressure with the surprise order.

“We have no choice to make some changes,” he says.

“We have to call all the renovation past eight o’clock and tell them that they have an option to come, potentially early on like five or four o’clock or three o’clock in the afternoon if they want to have liquor.”

Quaglia adds, he also expects a lot of cancellations, which might add up to extra food.

“If people don’t know their order takeout to compensate for that, then it’s not the greatest thing.”

Quaglia ensures his restaurant will follow the rules but he does believe the order is unfair — for both the restaurant for the customer.

“It would have been better to know a week ago or two weeks ago on knowing that even a month ago. Then we could adapt. Maybe our menu, the way we do things, etc.

While the Provence Marinaside is a fairly large restaurant that sits about 300 people, Quaglia explains that they were only seating a little over 100 people this year.

“I understand we need to by consensus and not spreading the virus, so I do understand the concept behind — it’s just a bit late notice.”

Read the full amended order to liquor sales:

covid-19-pho-order-nightclubs-food-drink (1)

Over the last day, the province is reporting that 11 people have lost their lives due to COVID-19, with 485 new cases identified — five of which are epidemiologically linked cases.

More than 200 cases are in Fraser Health, and 117 of the new cases are in the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority.

Three hundred and sixty-nine people are in hospital and 77 are in intensive care.

We now have 7,551 active cases and at least 9,320 people under active public health monitoring.

In total, 893 people have died due to the virus and 51,300 have tested positive.

Henry adds, 14,027 vaccines have been delivered since the vaccine was distributed in the province.

And on a “very positive note” Henry says the Moderna vaccine has arrived in 10 remote and isolated First Nations communities that were identified as being of high risk

“Immunizations will be starting in those communities either later today or tomorrow and we’re very excited and happy that we’re able to provide protection to some of the most vulnerable of our, our community, particularly the elders and knowledge keepers and many of these high-risk communities.”



– With files from Tamara Slobogean