(Rooftop Patio)

The provincial government has announced that restaurants, bars, and eateries in general will now be allowed to apply for expanded patio space.

The move has been made to support the hospitality sector in adapting to COVID-19 regulations that require groups of patrons to maintain distances of two metres or six feet from one another.

“This pandemic has hit our hospitality sector hard. Our government has been working with industry on ways to support the more than 180,000 British Columbians who work in pubs, restaurants and other parts of the sector,” said David Eby, Attorney General.

“Speeding up the process will help restaurants, pubs, breweries and other licensees, and give British Columbians more options for safely eating out this summer, while continuing to follow Dr. Henry’s directions.”

Food primary, liquor-primary and manufacturer licensees, such as wineries, breweries and distilleries can now apply to expand their service areas through a simplified online process.

These authorizations will be provided by the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation branch (LCRB) until October 31, 2020.

No fees will be required for the applications which will be processed on a first come first serve basis through an expedited process.

All licensees need to comply with local bylaws, and liquor primary and manufacturer licensees also need to receive approval from their local government.

There will be no on-site inspection before approval of the permits but inspectors will conduct regular compliance inspections.

Businesses interested in applying for the expansion can apply at justice.gov.bc.ca/cannabislicensing/covid-temporary-extension.