The view from cedar patio at Spinnakers - Photo courtesy of ItkasanImages

You know those fancy new patios your favourite bars and restaurants opened since the pandemic began?

Well, they’re here to stay.. if they choose to.

In a press release today, the BC government announced that more than 2,000 temporary patios authorized to serve liquor during the COVID-19 pandemic can apply for permanency under newly amended provincial liquor regulations.

This includes prospective patios that are supported by local governments and meet local bylaws.

These temporary expanded service areas (TESAs) have helped restaurants and pubs maintain service during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now, the province is extending the authorization of existing TESAs for an additional seven months, through to June 1st, 2022; and continuing to accept applications for new TESAs up until October 31st, 2021.

See also: Weathering the winter: Victoria restaurants adapt patios during COVID-19

The changes are intended to give businesses time to apply to make their current TESA authorizations permanent and prevent the risk of disrupting TESA use during the application process.

“TESA’s have been a make-or-break opportunity for so many operations struggling through these uncommon and difficult times,” said Ian Tostenson, president and CEO, BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association.

“This timely announcement, and the certainty it will afford our members in the months and years ahead, are welcome news.”

The province said that local governments and Indigenous Nations will have until July 30th to raise concerns about existing TESA authorizations in their jurisdiction before those temporary authorizations are extended by six months by the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB).

The LCRB will issue authorization letters to TESA’s extending their expiry date of temporary authorization to June 1st.

Extended TESA authorizations must remain in compliance with local bylaws and all other requirements.

Without a new authorization letter, existing TESAs will expire October 31st, 2021.

During dine-in restrictions in April, Victoria Buzz released a running list of fantastic patios located in and around Victoria that are likely still running.

Check it out and support local!

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