Bringing back 'Happy Hour'

'Happy Hours' will return to BC pubs, clubs and restaurants.

Premier Christy Clark made the announcement Tuesday as part of the government's support for a second set of liquor changes in the province.

Clark announced the first round of government supported changes last week at a news conference held at Volcanic Hills Winery in West Kelowna.

Tuesday's reform changes would also allow families to eat together in BC pub's, legions and restaurants, and remove restrictions requiring patrons to order food in a food-primary establishment.

The province also proposes to improve and expand BC's responsible beverage service program, Serving It Right (SIR).

"These changes are about updating antiquated licensing rules to reflect what British Columbians actually want, while continuing to protect public safety" says Clark.

"Families should be able to dine together in their neighbourhood pub. Consumers should be free to order whatever they want in a restaurant."

Tuesday's announcement comes on the heals of Parliamentary Secretary John Yap's review of BC's Liquor Policy.

"I heard throughout my consultations - from pubs, restaurants, legions and British Columbians - that licensing rules have become complicated and onerous over the years and they need to better match modern expectations," says Yap.

"These changes will address that call and strike a balance as we increase convenience for families and the industry, ensure continued growth of BC businesses and continue to safeguard health and safety."

The government has still yet to endorse one of the most widely requested changes - allowing the sale of alcohol in grocery stores.

While she supports the move, Clark stated last week the government has public safety concerns they have to work out.

"I'm concerned about the public safety aspect of that, we need to pay real close attention to that, but at the same time we are making sure that BC products do benefit from it," stated Clark at the time.

It is anticipated Yap's report on the review will be publicly released prior to Feb 14, 2014, once cabinet has had the opportunity to fully consider its 70 plus recommendations.


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