B.C. COVID rule amended to allow coffee shops, breweries to operate patios without serving meals

A public health order introduced earlier this week has already been amended following confusion and complaints.

A new restriction put into effect Monday at midnight bars indoor dining at restaurants and other venues as part of what health officials are calling a three-week "circuit breaker," meant as a reset at a time when daily COVID-19 cases are reaching all-time highs.

But patrons can still visit patios under this new restriction. However, initially the rules were that only places that serve meals could host customers outdoors.

This left breweries, coffee shops and other establishments without full kitchens wondering how they'd survive, and questioning the fairness of a rule intended to allow for some access to food and drink, just not indoors.

The B.C. health ministry told CTV News Thursday that the rule has been amended to allow these businesses to operate patios without full meal service.

Patrons in B.C. can have a drink without food on a patio, they just can't drink it inside, as is the policy with restaurants.

And, as has been the case for months in B.C., patrons of restaurants can only be seated with people who are within their household bubble.

While gatherings of up to 10 people are allowed outside, this rule does not apply to restaurants, pubs, bars and other locations.