Province says pubs and clubs can stay open for Olympic hockey final, but can't serve
The B.C. government is letting bars and pubs stay open really late this weekend to allow hockey fans to watch the bronze-medal and gold-medal men's Olympic hockey games.
In an about face from its position earlier this week when it said it would not allow pubs and bars to extend their operating hours to allow patrons to gather in the establishments to cheer on Team Canada, the government now says that subject to local government bylaws, pubs and bars can stay open, or open up, in the wee hours of the morning on Saturday and Sunday.
The bronze-medal game goes at 7 am PST on Saturday, while the gold-medal game goes at 4 a.m Sunday.
It' not know which game TeaCanada will play in as it must first win a semi-final game against the U.S. scheduled for today.
But while patrons will be allowed to gather in pubs and bars to cheer on the Canadians, they will not be served alcohol during the early morning games.
Attorney-General Susan Anton said existing liquor rules will still apply, meaning the earliest alcohol can be served is 9 a.m..But that is only at establishments that currently allow it.
For pubs and bars that extend their operating hours, unfinished liquor must be taken from patrons within 30 minutes of when liquor service hours end. The government says that rule is in place as a public safety measure.
Under current government policy, restaurants in B.C. are already are permitted to operate 24-hours-a-day, subject to local government approval, but cannot serve liquor outside of their licensed hours.
It's not known if any local pubs and clubs will take the province up on its offer.
Kelowna city clerk Stephen Fleming said the city does not regulate business operating hours for pubs and clubs, so in this case, the matter would be left up to the province.
Any establishment that wants to avail of the province's temporary new rule has until noon today to signal its interest with the B.C. Liquor Control and Licensing Branch by emailing the LCLB at email@example.com.