Liquor-primary establishments are allowed to have happy hours and — if they so choose — under-agers on the premises, as of last Saturday when various changes in provincial liquor legislation came into effect.
Liquor policy changes are intended to reflect modern lifestyles and values, Attorney General and Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton said in a Saturday announcement. Families can now have brunch at a pub or a meal at a legion, if those establishments apply to accommodate minors.
Valori Schaefer, a manager at the Griffin Pub in Comox, likes the happy hour idea but is not wild about the prospect of children at the pub.
“The attitude of my clientele is a bar is not a place for children,” she said. “And it’s a place that some people go to get away from their children for a break. It’s just not appropriate.”
The Comox Legion plans to ask its members about whether or not to allow children inside the doors.
“We do a lot of different functions that involve liquor,” bar manager Joanne Denny said.
“We really don’t have a place for kids to be in here. There’s liquor here no matter which way the kids sit. The bar is centred right in the middle.”
Another change allows festivals and events to remove beer garden barriers, though Vancouver Island MusicFest plans to keep its beer garden as is.
“We are very happy with the family-friendly vibe of MusicFest and don’t want to do anything that will threaten that,” executive producer Doug Cox said.
Additionally, vendors can now sell beer, wine and cider at farmers’ markets.
“We’ve been anxiously waiting for it (changes) to come into play because we have so many local wineries,” said Vickey Brown, manager of the Comox Valley Farmers’ Market.
She has received applications to sell alcohol from Nature’s Way Farm, Coastal Black Estate Winery and Hornby Island Estate Winery.
The same vendor rules apply to wineries in that products must be made in the Comox Valley or Strathcona Regional District.
“It adds to our membership, and it brings in people who are already growing product in the area,” Brown said.
“We are all about promoting local farmers, whether they are growing fruit for wine or fruit for eating.”
To date, 14 of 73 recommendations from a B.C. Liquor Policy Review have been implemented. The government’s goal is to implement 70 per cent of the recommendations by spring 2015.