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Rules changed to allow B.C. restaurants to deliver alcohol with meals

liquor bottles

Restaurants will be allowed to deliver alcohol along with meals, says B.C.'s attorney general.

David Eby announced the change Sunday to reinforce social distancing orders and help support workers in the restaurant industry.

"In these extraordinary times, more British Columbians are relying on delivery services during the COVID-19 pandemic," Eby said. "Permitting licensed restaurants to hire their out-of-work servers to deliver liquor products as part of their food-delivery service allows the public to continue to observe social distancing measures and also offers much-needed support to these workers and businesses."

The changes will be made available to customers who purchase a meal and the sealed, packaged liquor product for pick up from the restaurant's premises or for delivery at home. Previously, restaurants were only permitted to sell liquor only for consumption in their establishment, unless they had a special endorsement on their licence.

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Existing safeguards for safe consumption continue to be in place, such as verifying identification. The individuals delivering the liquor products will also be required to be certified with Serving It Right, which the government hopes will help encourage businesses to use currently laid-off serving staff to make these deliveries. Staff in licensed establishments are already required to hold this certification.

The recommendation was made by the Business Technical Advisory Panel, which consists of representatives of the liquor and hospitality industry, to help support struggling hospitality workers and businesses during this time.

The changes take effect immediately and expire July 15, 2020. The timeline can be amended by government through a regulation change.

"These changes not only help restaurant operators through a very tough time, but also could support the many British Columbians working in our breweries, wineries and distilleries," said Lana Popham, minister of agriculture. "Supporting local businesses and choosing to Buy BC makes a real difference in our communities, especially at a time like this."