Thursday December 31, 2020 | VICTORIA, BC
by Mary P Brooke, editor | Island Social Trends
There’s to be a form of prohibition on New Year’s Eve in BC. This was announced just yesterday afternoon.
Very likely what seems like a last-minute order is also part of the overall Health ministry strategy to lessen the impact on hospitals during the COVID pandemic. No last-minute alcohol sales or service on New Year’s Eve might result in fewer vehicle incidents (should there be any), which would reduce the impact on emergency rooms and surgery requirements.
Additional use of alcohol on New Year’s Eve might also contribute to what Provincial Health Officer Dr Bonnie Henry has referred to as the loosening of social behaviours. Close-contact during the COVID-19 pandemic leads to greater possibility of viral transmission.
“Especially in light of the U.K. variant now appearing in B.C., we must do all we can to limit the spread of COVID-19 in our communities,” it was stated in the December 30 release.
No liquor sales or service 8 pm to 9 am:
“To best position us as we go into 2021, an amendment to provincial health officer (PHO) orders has been put in place to reduce the hours that alcohol may be sold or served on New Year’s Eve,” it was stated in a news announcement by Dr Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix on December 30.
The selling and serving of alcohol must cease between 8 p.m. (Pacific time) today Thursday December 31, 2020, and not commence again until 9 am on January 1, 2021.
Then liquor sales for onsite consumption will revert to the primary order which states that alcohol sales must cease at 10 pm.
Impacting restaurants, bars and grocery stores:
“This order applies to any establishment that sells or serves alcohol, including bars, restaurants, pubs, liquor stores or grocery stores.
“Unless a full meal service is provided, premises that are licensed to serve liquor must close between 9 pm on December 31, 2020 and 9 am on January 1, 2021.
“We know alcohol can impair people’s judgment and their ability to effectively use the layers of protection required to keep all of us safe. This order, while temporary, will ensure New Year’s Eve leads to a safe new year for everyone,” it was stated in the Ministry of Health release.
“We recognize this order creates an added strain on our already challenged restaurant and food services sector that has been working hard to ensure restaurants are safe. However, this is the time to do all we can to keep our wall strong. We remain confident that having a meal with your household contacts in a restaurant in BC is safe, and we encourage people to continue to visit their local restaurants to eat in or take away on New Year’s Eve.”
“This is our last chance to make a difference this year. We recognize the sacrifices you have all made and we thank you for continuing to do your part,” it was stated in the release.
“In addition to this order, the industrial workplace order announced last week has been posted on the PHO website:
Chaos for restaurants over last-minute New Year’s Eve change – interview with BC Restaurant & Foodservices Association and input from DR Bonnie Henry (December 31, 2020)