Province issues emergency order to stop liquor sales at 8 p.m.
B.C. health officials announced Wednesday that liquor stores and bars must cut off sales at 8 p.m. on New Year’s Eve in an attempt to curb citizens from gathering.
This emergency measure applies to all liquor stores, bars and restaurants that serve alcohol.
“I absolutely know that there will be some people, particularly young people, who want to gather at this time of year, so we want to keep those small,” Dr. Bonnie Henry said in the announcement. “But moving it up to earlier in the evening, hopefully we’ll take that risk away.”
Although the order was made in hopes of stopping the spread of COVID-19, many people in the hospitality and restaurant industry have been expressing frustration over the last-minute ban.
A bar manager at the Owl Pub in Osoyoos said they heard about the order on Wednesday afternoon on CTV News. The pub had already sold tickets for steak and lobster dinners to people for New Year’s Eve, with a lot of food ordered, but they now have to stop serving liquor by 8 p.m.
“I wish they would have given us at least 24 hours, but it is what it is,” said the bar manager, who didn’t want her name used in the article.
New Year’s Eve is also when the pub has massive liquor sales, similar to many other bars and restaurants. They typically make special food and liquor orders specifically for tonight, and depend on these sales.
“Most of the restaurant people are pissed off about it. But we were expecting (the health authorities) to shut it down completely, and the fact that we’re still getting sales is a good thing,” the bar manager said.