The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen has granted blanket pre-approval to licensed establishments including wineries, breweries and distilleries to temporarily expand their patios. The expansion allows these businesses to promote physical distancing while reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Stock photo)

Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen pre-approves temporary expanded patios during COVID-19 pandemic

Blanket pre-approval granted to all licensees within regional district’s boundaries

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen will provide pre-approval for expanded outdoor patios for liquor primary outlets, wineries, breweries and distilleries within its region.

The pre-approval allows these businesses to promote physical distancing with a larger service area during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The pre-approval comes as a result of a new policy from the province’s Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Province streamlines patio applications for B.C. restaurants, wineries, pubs

READ ALSO: City governments to get more power over patio approval in B.C.’s COVID-19 reopening plan

The policy, dated May 22, authorizes a licensee such as a food primary, liquor primary, winery, brewery or distillery to expand their service areas until Oct. 31.

It was introduced to promote physical distancing and to make it easier for licensed establishments to safely reopen for business during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch, the license will only allow a business to increase its footprint and not its overall capacity while providing local governments with the option to either pre-approve or blanket-approve all liquor primary and manufacturer establishments that wish to apply for an extended service area or review each application on case-by-case basis.

In response to this, the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen has told the regulation branch that it wishes to “provide one pre-approval to cover all liquor primary and manufacturer establishments within [RDOS] jurisdiction who may apply for an expanded service area.”

Further information regarding liquor and cannabis regulation and licensing in British Columbia is available on the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch website at www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/employment-business/business/liquor-regulation-licensing.

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