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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.

Stage two relaunch — 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 Workplace Guidance for Business Owners and any other applicable Alberta Health guidance found at Alberta.ca/BizConnect.
 

Will all liquor licensed establishments be required to serve at 50 per cent capacity?
Starting June 12, 2020, there is no cap on capacity for cafes, restaurants, pubs and bars throughout the province as long as there is a two metre distance or appropriate barriers between dining parties. Dining parties may include up to six patrons; no more than six individuals are allowed to sit at larger tables. More information on sector guidelines can be found at Alberta.ca/BizConnect.

Where can liquor licensed establishments find more information on specific health and safety guidelines to follow as part of Alberta’s relaunch strategy?
The Alberta government has launched a new online resource, Alberta.ca/BizConnect, to provide business owners with information on health and safety guidelines for general workplaces, as well as operational guidelines for those able to open in stage one. 

Businesses permitted to reopen during stage two will be subject to strict infection prevention and control measures, and will be carefully monitored for compliance with public health orders. Businesses and locations that are reopening can access a template on the Biz Connect web page to help plan how employees and patrons will be protected from the spread of infection. Completion of this template is voluntary for liquor licensed businesses. All gaming facility operators and retailers (casinos, racing entertainment centres, bingo halls and VLT retailers) are required to provide an operational plan to AGLC as they prepare for reopening in stage two. 
 
It will be up to business operators to determine if they are ready to open and 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.

What kind of recreational activities or entertainment will be allowed in licensed establishments opening up in stage two?
Facilities are open for dining, delivery and take-out only. Recreational activities or entertainment within bars, cafes or pubs are not allowed at this time. This includes dancing or karaoke; or using shisha, hookah and water pipes, and other interactive activities.

Will eligible licensed establishments determine themselves if they are open for business?
It will be up to business operators to determine if they are ready to open and ensure all guidance has been met.

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.

Are nightclub or shisha bar-style operations allowed to open?
Nightclub or shisha bar-style operations are not approved to be open. Business owners of these establishments may contact Alberta Health Services and ask for approval if premises are reconfigured and adhere to meet health and safety requirements. 

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

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. 

Are liquor licensed establishments with a licensed patio able to increase the size of their patios? What about licensed establishments who do not currently have a licensed patio?
Yes. Licensees can contact AGLC to provide information on the new size and capacity to ensure the patio still meets licensing requirements. 

In addition to contacting the AGLC, licensees looking to establish a patio should contact their local municipality to ensure the patio meets all municipal and licensing requirements.

In the event of inclement weather (i.e., rain, snow, cold), if patrons move from the patio to inside the establishment, does this exceed occupant capacity?
Establishments are responsible for ensuring that physical distancing requirements are in place for both indoor and outdoor seating to ensure their stated capacity is not exceeded, as per Alberta’s health and safety guidelines set by the Chief Medical Officer of Health and municipal fire departments for restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars. 

Will patrons be allowed to sit at the bar if plexiglass barriers are installed?
As part of stage two, patrons may sit at the bar providing physical distancing measures are met. 

Who will enforce these rules?
Local public health officials will continue to enforce public health orders. AGLC inspectors will also be checking for compliance. Non-compliance may result in an immediate suspension of the liquor licence.

Have casinos, racing entertainment centres, VLT operations and bingo halls reopened as part of stage two?
As of June 12, casinos, racing entertainment centres and bingo halls were permitted to reopen in Alberta, and VLT operations may commence as well. Table games may resume on September 3, 2020.

Some liquor producers were able to shift their manufacturing capacity to support response efforts. How long will they be allowed to do this?
Some Alberta distillers began producing alcohol-based hand sanitizers in their facilities to help fill a gap in many markets due to the COVID-19 health crisis. AGLC is supporting the manufacturers’ efforts and more information for them can be found at aglc.ca/bulletin/production-hand-sanitizer-class-e.

How do I make a complaint about a licensed premises that is not adhering to provincial health directives?
While this announcement is encouraging news for many Albertans and businesses, AGLC reminds licensees of their responsibility to adhere to the orders. 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.