Three Powell River liquor establishments that have been operating temporary patios during the COVID-19 pandemic will have the opportunity to make them permanent.
Carlson Community Club, Townsite Brewing and Wildwood Public House had all applied for temporary expanded service areas (TESAs) after COVID-19 hit and have been able to serve customers in an outdoor setting. They are now eligible to make their temporary patios an ongoing fixture in their business operations.
“That’s going to be great,” said Brenda Knox, manager of the Carlson Community Club. “We’ll definitely extend it to keep it permanent. That would be awesome, actually.
“It [the TESA] was a godsend. We have a covered patio but it only holds 16 people out there. When we got to extend it, we could put out 16 more people so we were able to serve 32 people. We were able to double the people here.”
Knox said on nice days, being out in the fresh air, instead of inside of a building, is a great addition for the club.
She said if the establishment is closed, it still gets bills, so being able to serve liquor outside helped keep the bills paid.
Townsite Brewing office manager Raissa Wadden said the patio at the establishment has gone wonderfully.
“There’s rarely a table available,” said Wadden. “We’ve really loved having the patio out front.”
Townsite Brewing has five patio tables and has been able to serve three during the pandemic. Wadden said it is hoped that all five will be able to operate in the near future. Having the patio open has been a necessity, she added.
On a nice, sunny day, it’s a great place to have a beverage, with a nice ocean view from the patio location, according to Wadden.
“It’s really a nice place to sit out there,” she said.
In terms of applying for permanent patio status, Wadden said that is what Townsite Brewing is working toward.
According to a media release from the provincial government, more than 2,000 temporary patios authorized to serve liquor during the COVID-19 pandemic can apply to become permanent under amended provincial liquor regulations.
Government commits to recovery
“Temporary patios have been a lifeline for so many businesses and workers in the hospitality sector, and we’re committed to making these expanded serving areas part of their long-term recovery and beyond,” stated Mike Farnworth, minister of public safety and solicitor general.
TESAs have allowed thousands of restaurants and pubs to serve more patrons while complying with health orders, particularly those related to physical distancing and indoor dining, the release stated. To ensure existing and prospective TESAs can operate without interruption as they transition toward becoming a permanent part of BC’s hospitality landscape, the province is extending the authorization of existing TESAs through to June 1, 2022, and is continuing to accept applications for new TESAs up to October 31, 2021.
“We have seen the hospitality industry pivot and open patios as a way to continue to welcome their customers and operate safely during the pandemic," stated Ravi Kahlon, minister of jobs, economic recovery and innovation. “As we move forward with BC’s restart, we remain committed to working with businesses to find innovative ways to help them thrive and grow.”
The changes will give businesses time to apply to make their current TESA authorizations permanent and prevent the risk of disrupting TESA use during the application process. As well, the changes provide local governments and indigenous nations more time to review eligible applications for permanent structural changes before TESA authorizations expire and to consider the implications of permanent approval for their communities.
Local governments and indigenous nations will have until July 30 to raise concerns about existing TESA authorizations in their jurisdictions before those temporary authorizations are extended by six months by the liquor and cannabis regulation branch (LCRB). To all licensees with current TESA authorizations and whose local governments have not raised concerns, LCRB will issue authorization letters extending the expiry date of their temporary authorization to June 1, 2022.
Extended TESA authorizations must remain in compliance with local bylaws and all other requirements. Without a new authorization letter, existing TESAs will expire October 31, 2021.