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Important information for Albertans

AGLC is taking the COVID-19 coronavirus matter seriously. Please visit AGLC.ca/COVID19 for the latest updates.

COVID-19 Liquor Q & A

While not exhaustive, AGLC has prepared the Questions & Answers below to answer many of the questions that you or your organization may have related to COVID-19.

If you are a liquor licensee and have any additional questions, please contact:

Please refer to Alberta Health guidance found at Alberta.ca/enhanced-public-health-measures.aspx.

 

Questions and answers

How do the new restrictions impact liquor licensed establishments?
On May 26, 2021, the Alberta government announced a three-stage roadmap, Alberta's Open for Summer Plan, that outlines how restrictions will ease while protecting the health-care system and increasing vaccination rates in the province.

Starting June 10, 2021, restaurants, lounges and cafés may reopen for indoor and outdoor dining.

  • Up to a maximum of six people per table.
  • Restaurants, lounges and cafés must collect the contact information of one person from the dining party.
  • Tables and dining parties must be two metres apart or separated by an impermeable barrier that will prevent droplet transmission.
  • No entertainment allowed (e.g., pool tables, live music, etc.).
  • Liquor service ends at 11 p.m.; in-person dining must close by midnight.
  • Takeout, curbside pickup and delivery services are permitted.

A mandatory provincewide indoor masking requirement and distancing requirements remain in place.

More information on sector guidelines can be found at Alberta.ca/enhanced-public-health-measures.aspx.

Are casinos, bingo halls, gaming and racing entertainment centres, horse tracks and nightclubs allowed to reopen as part of new restrictions?
Starting June 10, 2021, gaming facilities (casinos, bingo halls, gaming and racing entertainment centres, and horse tracks) may reopen in Alberta at one-third capacity, as part of Step 2 in Alberta’s Open for Summer Plan. Licensed premises (bars, lounges, etc.) with VLTs may also reopen.

Also starting June 10, 2021, restaurants, lounges and cafés that have Class A licences within gaming facilities may reopen for indoor and outdoor dining.

  • Up to a maximum of six people per table.
  • Restaurants, lounges and cafés must collect the contact information of one person from the dining party.
  • Tables and dining parties must be two metres apart or separated by an impermeable barrier that will prevent droplet transmission.
  • No entertainment allowed (e.g., pool tables, live music, etc.).
  • Liquor service ends at 11 p.m.; in-person dining must close by midnight.
  • Takeout, curbside pickup and delivery services are permitted.

How will the further easing of restrictions look?
On May 26, 2021, the Alberta government announced a three-stage roadmap that outlines how restrictions will ease while protecting the health-care system and increasing vaccination rates in the province.

These restriction changes apply provincewide. Additional details will be released before each stage is implemented.

  • Stage 1: Two weeks after 50 per cent of Albertans age 12-plus have received at least one dose of vaccine and COVID-19 hospitalizations are below 800 and declining.
  • Stage 2: Two weeks after 60 per cent of Albertans age 12-plus have received at least one dose of vaccine and COVID-19 hospitalizations are below 500 and declining.
  • Stage 3: Two weeks after 70 per cent of Albertans age 12-plus have received at least one dose of vaccine.

More information on Alberta's Open for Summer Plan is outlined at Alberta.ca/enhanced-public-health-measures.aspx.

Can licensed venues provide liquor and food pickup and delivery service after 11 p.m.?
Yes; licensed establishments may continue to provide food and liquor pickup and delivery service after 11 p.m. – up to the end time on their licence. 

Will the provision for Class A licensees to provide liquor for off-sales be rescinded when the public health order is lifted? 
No; the provision will remain in place after the public health order is lifted and Class A licensees may continue to provide liquor for off-sales. 

How do I make a complaint about a licensed premises that is not adhering to provincial health directives?
AGLC continues to work with all licensed venues and asks all owners/operators to comply with public health guidance from Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health on the new restrictions. Venues that contravene the direction of the Chief Medical Officer of Health risk immediate suspension of their licence.

Complaints can be submitted by email at Inspections.Mailbox@aglc.ca. Please be sure to include the premises operating name and address, including town, along with the details of your complaint.

Where can liquor licensed establishments find more information on specific health and safety guidelines to follow for current public health measures?
The Alberta government has an online resource to provide business owners with information on health and safety guidelines for workplaces, as well as operational guidelines. It will be up to business operators to ensure all guidance has been met. Licensees are encouraged to consult with their Alberta Health Services inspectors to ensure compliance with the enhanced health and safety guidelines.

Are customers required to remove their masks in retail liquor stores for identification verification purposes?
The current public health order does allow for patrons to remove their mask at a distance to enable retail liquor store employees in determining age and verifying identification.

Are retail liquor stores permitted to conduct liquor deliveries or do they require an additional licence?
Retail liquor stores have always been permitted to conduct liquor deliveries and do not require an additional licence. Policies relating to liquor deliveries are outlined in Section 4.11 of the Retail Liquor Store Handbook.

Can liquor licensed establishments sell growlers?
Yes; sealed growlers have been sold from liquor stores in Alberta for several years, and Class A licensees can do the same. For draught beer, the cap design of the container (e.g., growlers or crowlers) should demonstrate the container has not been opened during transportation. For more information, please visit aglc.ca/bulletins/class-a-off-sales

Can licensees return liquor product?
Licensees with questions about liquor product returns are advised to contact the approved warehouse from which product was ordered for more detailed information. Registered agencies representing liquor products are required to approve all returns and indicate instructions on disposition (e.g., return to stock). 

Who will enforce these rules?
Temporary authority to enforce public health orders, including those impacting retail and food and beverage services (restaurants, pubs, bars, lounges, cafés) remain in effect for enforcement partners, including AGLC.

How do the new restrictions announced on May 26 impact retail liquor operations?
On May 26, 2021, the Alberta government announced a three-stage roadmap, Alberta's Open for Summer Plan, that outlines how restrictions will ease while protecting the health-care system and increasing vaccination rates in the province.

Starting June 10, liquor retail outlets may remain open with capacity limited to 33.3 per cent of the occupancy set under the Alberta Fire Code. Retailers may wish to consider offering their customers the option to reserve online and pick up in store in support of reducing in-store capacity.

A mandatory provincewide indoor masking requirement and distancing requirements remain in place.

More information on sector guidelines can be found at Alberta.ca/enhanced-public-health-measures.aspx.

Are licensed private special events permitted under current public health orders?
Under current public health orders, all indoor social gatherings – public and private – are prohibited. Up to 20 people are allowed at outdoor social gatherings. 

Wedding ceremonies are restricted to a maximum of 20 people and may be held in a public or private place. Wedding receptions are permitted outdoors. 

Funeral ceremonies are restricted to a maximum of 20 people, with mandatory masking and two metre physical distancing. Funeral receptions are permitted outdoors.

Outdoor public gatherings (such as concerts and festivals) are permitted with up to 150 people.

Outdoor fixed seating facilities (such as grandstands) are limited to one-third of their total seated capacity.

Masks must be worn indoors (going inside for snacks or to the washroom).

More information is available at Alberta.ca/enhanced-public-health-measures.aspx.