B.C. extends temporary service area expansions by one year

Patio expansions extended

In an effort to help the struggling hospitality industry, the province is allowing restaurants and pubs the opportunity to keep their extended patios for another year.

Last spring, the B.C. government began granting food and liquor establishments temporary expanded service area authorizations, to allow for larger capacity restrictions for areas like expanded patios.

In Kelowna, the city granted 41 private property patio expansion approvals and 15 additional patios on the temporarily closed Bernard Avenue through the summer. Across B.C., 1,073 service area expansions were authorized.

While the expansions were initially set to expire by the end of October 2020, on Friday, the province announced the program would be extended until Oct. 31, 2021.

“The [Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch] intends to extend all TESA authorizations,” the province said in a press release. “However, the branch will reach out to local governments to confirm their support for the extension of approved TESA authorizations in their jurisdiction prior to extensions being granted.”

Ryan Smith, director of Kelowna's Planning and Development Services, says the city is excited about this extension from the province. 

"We are currently discussing what a winter expansion/extension to our private property program would look like and hope to have some details direction in the coming weeks," Smith said, noting there is no plan for any additional closure of Bernard Avenue through the winter months. 

All establishments' service area expansions will be automatically extended once they're approved by the city.

But with colder temperatures just around the corner, it may be difficult for many establishments to take advantage of the expanded service area authorizations, once patio weather becomes a thing of the past.

Additionally, the government has also extended the temporary authorization allowing food and liquor establishments to sell packaged liquor products to go. This extension will now run to March 31, 2021.

Last week, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced a new public health order forcing the closure of B.C. nightclubs and the restriction of liquor sales in bars and restaurants to before 10 p.m.

The hospitality industry has come out against the new measures, saying many B.C. establishments will not survive.

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