B.C. allows restaurants, bars to again sell take-out draught beer amid pandemic

Mike Sleeman of Parallel 49 Brewing Company fills up a growler -- a 64-ounce refillable beer bottle that will soon be subject to a higher tax rate. (CTV)

Restaurants and bars in British Columbia will once again be allowed to sell draught beer in take-away growlers for a limited time during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The province announced the return of take-away growler sales on Wednesday after an earlier authorization was rescinded last summer when indoor dining at restaurants and bars resumed.

Now that public health orders have one again prohibited indoor dining, beer drinkers can get draught beer to go with the purchase of a meal until June 6.

The rule applies to both food-primary and liquor-primary businesses.

“We know it’s a tough time for the food and beverage sector, and we continue to work closely with industry representatives to be nimble and find ways to support the many restaurants, pubs and other establishments,” said Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth in a statement Wednesday.

“I also want to extend my appreciation to the businesses that are adhering to the PHO (provincial health officer) orders and helping to keep British Columbians safe as we navigate this new wave of COVID-19 cases,” Farnworth added.

The province hopes the rule change will help mitigate the financial losses restaurants and bars have suffered during the pandemic.

“Hospitality industry representatives advocated to government for this change,” said Jeff Guignard, executive director of Alliance of Beverage Licensees BC, in the statement.

“It’s encouraging to see the province take such fast action to help thousands of small and medium businesses recover some of the revenue opportunities that would’ve otherwise been lost during this latest period of restrictions,” Guignard added.

Under current B.C. health orders, indoor dining is suspended until at least April 19 with the possibility of extensions beyond that date. Restaurant patio service, take-out and delivery service is still allowed under current health orders.

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