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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.

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 announced on April 6 impact retail liquor operations?
Effective at 11:59 p.m. on April 6, liquor retail outlets may remain open with capacity limited to 15 per cent of the occupancy set under the Alberta Fire Code (not including staff). 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 throughout the entire stepped approach, and some degree of restrictions will still apply to all activities within each step, including locations where a business or entity operates and is applicable to employees, visitors and the general public.

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

How do the new restrictions announced on April 6 impact liquor licensed establishments?
Effective at noon on Friday, April 9, in-person services is no longer permitted in restaurants, pubs, bars, lounges and cafes.

  • Takeout, curbside pickup and delivery services are permitted.
  • Outdoor patio dining is also allowed.
  • Tables and dining parties must be two metres apart or separated by an impermeable barrier that will prevent droplet transmission.
  • Household members only, or two close contacts of someone who lives alone.
  • Contact information must be collected from one person of the dining party.

A mandatory provincewide indoor masking requirement and distancing requirements remain in place throughout the entire stepped approach, and some degree of restrictions will still apply to all activities within each step, including locations where a business or entity operates and is applicable to employees, visitors and the general public.

AGLC will continue to communicate updates as they become available. For the most up-to-date information, please continue to visit AGLC.ca/COVID-19.

Are casinos, bingo halls, gaming and racing entertainment centres, horse tracks and nightclubs allowed to reopen as part of new restrictions?
Casinos, bingo halls, racing entertainment centres, horse tracks and private clubs remain closed until further notice.

Effective at noon on Friday, April 9, in-person services is no longer permitted in restaurants, pubs, bars, lounges and cafes that have Class A licences within gaming facilities.

  • Takeout, curbside pickup and delivery services are permitted.
  • Outdoor patio dining is also allowed.
  • Tables and dining parties must be two metres apart or separated by an impermeable barrier that will prevent droplet transmission.
  • Household members only, or two close contacts of someone who lives alone.
  • Contact information must be collected from one person of the dining party.

How will the further easing of restrictions look like based on hospitalization benchmarks?
On January 29, 2021, the Alberta government announced an easing of provincewide health measures will occur in steps based on COVID-19 hospitalization benchmarks.  

These steps and benchmarks will provide a transparent approach to easing restrictions for businesses and individuals while protecting the health-care system. 

Each step has an associated benchmark of hospitalized COVID-19 patients, including intensive care patients. Changes to restrictions will be considered once a benchmark is reached.

The hospitalization benchmarks are:

  • Step 1 – 600 and declining
  • Step 2 – 450 and declining
  • Step 3 – 300 and declining
  • Step 4 – 150 and declining

If after three weeks the hospitalization numbers are in the range of the next benchmark, decisions will be considered for moving to Step 2. The same three-week re-evaluation period will be used for all subsequent steps.

At what step will casinos, bingo halls, gaming and racing entertainment centres, horse tracks and nightclubs be able to reopen to the public?
Potential easing of restrictions related to casinos, bingo halls, gaming and racing entertainment centres, horse tracks and nightclubs will be considered once benchmarks are reached in Step 3.

A roadmap was developed to help Albertans understand how restrictions will be eased in steps over the coming months. A Path Forward outlines the sectors that will see gradual restriction changes at each step based on hospitalization benchmarks.

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?
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.

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 10 people are allowed at outdoor social gatherings. 

Wedding ceremonies are restricted to a maximum of 10 people and may be held in a public or private place. Wedding receptions are currently not permitted. 

Funeral ceremonies are restricted to a maximum of 20 people, with mandatory masking and two meter physical distancing. Funeral receptions are currently not permitted.  

More information is available at https://www.alberta.ca/restrictions-on-gatherings.aspx