The Okanagan wine industry is likely relieved after seeing today's announced "BC Restart Plan". A phased reopening over the next few months will likely have the province back to normal by the fall ... and will provide significant help to the wine and hospitality industries earlier than that. The gradual reduction of restrictions is summarized clearly in this BC Restart Plan Chart (downloadable from this site). The government news release is here as well as a link to the entire media presentation: BC Media Presentation on Restart Plan.

The new Public Health Order (dated May 24, 2021) is here: Food & Liquor Serving Premises Order. Related guidance for the industry is located here: Province-Wide Restrictions. I note that at the time of writing this the earlier Gatherings & Events Order (dated May 7, 2021) had not been properly updated to reflect the updated restrictions indicated by government below.

In summary, the major changes that affect the industry are:

  • Today: indoor dining is permitted with the same rules that were in effect prior to the 'circuit breaker closure'. In other words, physical distancing requirements and a maximum of 6 people to a table. Note: the recommendation that the 6 should be from the same household has been removed. Travel is still restricted but now permitted within your health region (so travel from the Lower Mainland to the Okanagan is still NOT permitted). Organized gatherings are now permitted with up to 10 people indoors and up to 50 people outdoors. 
  • June 15th (earliest expected date): Liquor service is expected to be extended until midnight. Organized gatherings are expected to be expanded to allow up to 50 people indoors. Travel between health regions is expected to be permitted (i.e. travel from the Lower Mainland to the Okanagan will be allowed).
  • July 1st (earliest expected date): Indoor dining group limits are expected to be removed. Organized gathering limits are expected to be expanded even further and to permit "fairs and festivals". Canada-wide travel is expected.
  • September 7th (earliest expected date): Expectation is a return to 'normality' or something close to that. 
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