B.C. government moves to fast-track patio expansions amid COVID-19

WATCH: Vancouver is easing restrictions when it comes to restaurants. City council has voted unanimously in favour of more flexible outdoor patio options.

The B.C. government has moved to fast-track patio expansions to help the province’s hospitality sector meet physical-distancing guidelines outlined by the provincial health officer.

The Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch is accepting online applications for “food primary, liquor primary and manufacturer licencees” to temporarily expand service areas until the end of October.

“Speeding up the process will help restaurants, pubs, breweries and other licencees, and give British Columbians more options for safely eating out this summer, while continuing to follow (provincial officer of health) Dr. Henry’s directions,” Attorney General David Eby said in a statement.

Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart applauded the move, saying it complements the city’s plan to expedite the approval of new patios starting June 1.

“This type of collaboration between business, the province and local government will be key to ensuring Vancouver and B.C. can innovate and adapt quickly and responsibly, as we restart the economy,” he said in a statement.

Earlier this month, Vancouver city council voted unanimously to support easing restrictions on restaurant patios.

Vancouver councillor submits patio options to help restaurants struggling under COVID-19

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has said that outdoor seating could be a key component in getting dine-in service up and running while maintaining coronavirus precautions.

Lance Verhoeff, co-owner of Fort Langley’s Trading Post Eatery, is happy with the changes.

“I think it’s a really great step for all government bodies that they’ve been able to sort of put this together really quickly, and allow us, restaurateurs, to do what we do best and allow customers to be outside and enjoying the sunshine while having some good food, beer, and wine.”

— With files from Global News’ Richard Zussman and Simon Little

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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