The B.C. Government has lent support to turn temporary patio spaces into permanent fixtures.

According to Government officials, provincial liquor regulations were changed to allow businesses to sell alcohol on the temporary patios.

Government officials said more than 2,000 of the temporary patios can now apply to be permanently allowed to sell alcohol under the changed regulations.

“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,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General.

The changes to the regulations helped businesses to continue serving communities when COVID-19 restrictions made it impossible to have people inside.

“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,” said 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.”

Government officials said temporary expanded service areas (TESAs) will be able to operate without interruption as they move to a permanent plan. To keep the transition smooth, the B.C. Government is extending the authorization of TESAs.

The Province is extending existing TESAs through to June 1st, 2022 and will continue to accept new applications until October 31st, 2021.

“TESAs have been a make-or-break opportunity for so many operations struggling through these uncommon and difficult times,” said Ian Tostenson, president and CEO, BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association. “This timely announcement, and the certainty it will afford our members in the months and years ahead, are welcome news.”

Local governments and First Nations will have until July 30th, 2021 to raise any issues they have with the existing TESA authorizations before they get extended by the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch.

**Story by Josiah Spyker**