Alert icon urgent
Urgent
COVID-19 information for Albertans

Please visit AGLC.ca/COVID19 for the latest updates – including information on in-person access to AGLC services.

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 https://alberta.ca/guidance-documents.aspx.

Questions and answers

Last updated: September 23, 2021

 

How do the new restrictions announced on September 15 impact liquor licensed establishments?

Effective September 16, masking and physical distancing are mandatory in all indoor public spaces and workplaces provincewide. Employees must mask in all indoor work settings, except while alone in work stations.

Effective September 20, some businesses may choose to participate in the Restrictions Exemption Program (REP) and require all patrons to produce government-issued proof of vaccination or a recent privately paid negative COVID-19 test.

Municipalities may have additional requirements set out through bylaw. Please follow all restrictions that your municipality may have in place.

 If a business chooses not to require proof of vaccination, they will be required to adhere to new capacity and operating public health restrictions.

General information on current restrictions can be found here https://alberta.ca/covid-19-public-health-actions.aspx.

Relevant Public Health Orders (Order 43-2021) can be found here https://alberta.ca/covid-19-orders-and-legislation.aspx.

Who is eligible for the Restrictions Exemption Program (REP)?

In general, businesses eligible to participate in the REP include:

  • Restaurants, cafes, bars, pubs and nightclubs
  • Casinos, bingo halls, racing entertainment centres (REC)
  • VLT Lounges
  • Public facilities that host weddings/funerals/special events

Municipalities may have additional requirements set out through bylaw. Please follow all restrictions that your municipality may have in place.

Liquor retailers are not eligible to participate in the REP.

Participating in the REP permits in-scope businesses, entities and organizers to operate without most public health restrictions as outlined in Order 43-2021. Masks are still mandatory indoors.

Detailed information about the REP is available at: COVID-19 public health actions | Alberta.ca.

Why are liquor retailers not eligible to participate in the REP?
Retail liquor stores are considered out-of-scope for the REP. All liquor retailers are required to comply to the following public health measures:

  • Masking and physical distancing are mandatory in all indoor public spaces.
  • Capacity restricted to 1/3 fire code occupancy.
  • Attendees must be with household members only, or 2 close contacts if they live alone.
     

How do businesses participate in the REP?
Operators do not need to apply, but must follow or exceed the program requirements at all times, including requiring all patrons/attendees aged 12 and over to provide valid:

  • proof of vaccination, or
  • proof of a privately-paid negative rapid test result taken within 72 hours of service, or
  • documentation of a medical exemption

Resources are available for businesses who choose to participate in the REP.

Municipalities may have additional requirements set out through bylaw. Please follow all restrictions that your municipality may have in place.

Please visit COVID-19 public health actions | Alberta.ca for the most up-to-date information on the Restrictions Exemption Program.
 

What are the public health restrictions for restaurant, cafes, pubs and night clubs?
Restaurants, lounges and cafés that have Class A licences that implement the REP will be permitted to resume normal operations, including the resumption of liquor service until the end time on their licence. 

  • Patrons must wear a mask while standing or moving around, but they can remove it to eat or drink while seated. 
  • If a bar or nightclub has a dance floor and utilizes the REP, patrons can dance with masks and no physical distancing. 
  • Entertainment is permitted when implementing the REP
  • Restaurants, lounges and cafés that have Class A licences within gaming facilities that implement the REP will be permitted to resume normal operations, including the resumption of liquor service until the end time on their licence. Patrons must be masked when they are not eating or drinking.

Municipalities may have additional requirements set out through bylaw. Please follow all restrictions that your municipality may have in place.

Organizations not participating in REP must comply to the following public health measures:

  • Indoor dining is not permitted.
  • Outdoor dining only with a maximum of 6 people per table (one household or 2 close contacts for those living alone).
  • Liquor sales and consumption restrictions apply (sales end at 10pm, consumption by 11pm).
  • VLT lounges not participating in the REP are prohibited from serving food, liquor, or beverages.
  • Casinos that chose not to implement the REP cannot serve food, liquor, or beverages. However, they can choose to apply the REP at their restaurants, which would be able to operate as indicated above.
  • Bingo halls that choose not to implement the REP cannot serve food, liquor, or beverages.
     

Can licensed venues provide liquor and food pickup and delivery service after 10 p.m.?
Yes; licensed establishments may continue to provide food and liquor pickup and delivery service after 10 p.m. – up to the end time on their licence. This is for off-premises liquor consumption only.

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. Class A licensees may continue to provide liquor for off-sales. 

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.

Are customers required to remove their masks in retail liquor stores for identification verification purposes?
Retail liquor store employees can ask patrons to remove their mask to determine age and verify 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). 
 

Are licensed private special events currently permitted?
Yes, private special events may continue and are eligible for the REP if being held in a public host facility who is responsible to ensure the public health guidelines are followed. This includes:

  • Indoor wedding ceremonies are permitted with up to 50 people or 50% of fire code occupancy, whichever is less.
  • Indoor wedding receptions are prohibited, unless the hosting facility implements the REP.
  • Outdoor ceremonies, services and receptions are permitted with up to 200 people and must follow liquor sales and consumption restrictions (sales end at 10pm, consumption by 11pm), unless the hosting facility implements the REP.
  • All events in private dwellings are not eligible for the REP.

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

Municipalities may have additional requirements set out through bylaw. Please follow all restrictions that your municipality may have in place.

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.

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.