B.C. announces expanded list of COVID-19 violations for restaurants and bars

B.C. announces expanded list of COVID-19 violations for restaurants and bars

B.C.’s minister of public safety has announced a string of new COVID-19 violations that can be enforced with a fine, as well as an expanded group of officials who can hand out tickets.

The expanded list of violations, announced by Mike Farnworth late Sunday, centres on the restaurant and bar industry.

Its release comes after B.C. ordered the closure of banquet halls and nightclubs and outlawed the sale of liquor past 10 p.m. earlier this month.

Businesses can now be ticketed for violating the following provincial health orders:

  • Background music or sounds must be no louder than normal conversations.
  • An establishment must close by 11 p.m. unless full meal service is being provided.
  • Premises offering full meal service are allowed to stay open past 11 p.m., but liquor is not allowed to be served until 11 a.m. the next day.
  • Liquor can no longer be consumed onsite by owners, operators or staff past 11 p.m.
  • The 10 p.m. cut-off for liquor sales also applies to private events.
  • If food- or liquor-serving premises hold private events, such as wedding receptions, they must follow the same rules as hotels and other venues. 

If these orders are not followed, operators and organizers will be fined $2,000, while patrons could be fined $200, the announcement said. The fines will also apply to banquet halls and nightclubs that continue to operate.

“Now, more than ever, we all need to follow the guidelines of the provincial health officer (PHO),” said Farnworth.

“These updated measures ensure police have the tools necessary to continue enforcing the PHO’s orders on unsafe gatherings.”

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Farnworth has also expanded the list of officers and inspectors who have the power to hand out fines for such violations.

Along with the police officers and, liquor, cannabis and gaming inspectors, community safety unit inspectors and conservation officers can now issue tickets under the Offence Act’s Violation Ticket Administration and Fines Regulation.

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