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Revised BC Health Order Affects Some Winery Operations

A revised BC Public Health Order was posted late yesterday which applies to all licensed premises that serve liquor (and which is effective yesterday, July 23 2020). While the bulk of the order is similar to the previous one, it does make some significant changes which may affect certain winery operations:

  • Updated August 1, 2020. This part has been revised effective July 31st. Manufacturer licensees are now exempt from the requirement that all customers must be seated. Updated July 28, 2020. Paragraphs 3 and 10 of the Health Order state that all patrons must have a seat and that following any service to a patron at a manufacturer tasting bar, the patron must return \”directly\” to an assigned seat. As such, the text of the Order does not permit patrons to stand at a tasting bar to consume their samples/drinks. Rather, a plain reading of the sections says that they can\’t do so (see paragraph 3). While I have been told that there may have been an \”intention\” to allow patrons to stand at a manufacturer tasting bar so long as physical distancing is maintained, the Health Order does not allow this. Unless the Health Order is modified, it is my view that manufacturers should require all patrons to have a seat (a stool would be ok too) as Health Officers or Liquor Inspectors may expect all patrons to be seated based on the text of the Order. The rules apply regardless of tasting room setup (i.e. whether inside or outside). 
  • Group size is still limited to 6 persons. If larger groups arrive, they must be seated separately with mandated physical distancing. Tables cannot be consolidated. 
  • There must be sufficient staff to monitor and enforce the physical distancing and seating rules. 
  • No singing or dancing.
  • There are detailed rules regarding the holding of events including the previous maximum of 50 people. Events can only be held between noon and 11 pm. Maximum of two events per day.
  • If live music is part of an event, there must be a physical barrier to separate performers from the audience and a distance of at least 3 m.

Full order is here: Order of the Public Health Officer: Food Service Establishments, Liquor Services & Events

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