PHO issues updated restaurant establishment order

On July 31, 2020, British Columbia’s Provincial Health Officer issued an updated order with respect to restrictions applicable to food and drink establishments, which replaces the prior food and drink establishment order dated July 23, 2020. The latest food and drink establishment order includes clarifying language, and carves out various exceptions for cafeterias, private clubs, and establishments with manufacturer licences.

Application of the order

Prior food and drink establishment orders were aimed generically at owners and operators of premises in which food or drink services are provided. The most recent order provides greater detail and clarity as to the applicability of the order, specifying that it is directed at owners and operators of the following establishments:

  • restaurants;
  • coffee shops;
  • cafes;
  • cafeterias;
  • food primary and liquor primary establishments;
  • pubs;
  • bars;
  • lounges;
  • nightclubs; and
  • manufacturing facilities that have tasting rooms and lounges.

Relatedly, the definition of “premises” has been updated to clarify that it applies to the indoor and outdoor areas of the foregoing types of food or drink establishments.

New exemptions

The new order expressly exempts cafeterias, private clubs, and premises with a manufacturing license, from the following restrictions or requirements:

  • If licensed, that patrons be assigned to a table, booth or counter;
  • That patrons be required to remain in their seats except to use a self-service station, to use the washrooms, or to leave the premises;
  • That there be sufficient staff to ensure that patrons remain seated, and not congregate in areas of the premises; and
  • That liquor only be served to patrons when they are seated.

Additionally, premises with a manufacturing license are exempted from the requirement that there be sufficient seating for patrons who remain on premises after being served.  The former order allowed patrons at premises with a manufacturer license to leave their seat to be served a drink at the bar; consistent with the new wholesale exemption from seating requirements for premises with a manufacturer license, this language has been removed from the new order as well.

New General Restrictions

The PHO’s new order also expressly prohibits food and drink establishments from holding “jam or open mic sessions” on their premises. This is in addition to the earlier restrictions against singing, Karaoke, and dancing.

The Provincial Health Officer’s new food and drink establishment order can be viewed here.

If you have any questions about this article, please contact Sari Wiens, Ilan BurkesNicole Toye or Jessica Fairbairn.

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