B.C. is changing its COVID-19 public health orders to cut off alcohol sales early on St. Patrick’s Day, similar to the New Year’s Eve restrictions that were designed to prevent parties from getting out of hand and spreading infection.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Thursday the alcohol sales cutoff would be similar to New Year’s Eve for next Wednesday, March 17, a celebration of Irish tradition that is focused on drinking in pubs. For New Year’s Eve, the public health order was amended to stop liquor sales at 8 p.m., rather than the 10 p.m. cutoff that has applied during much of the pandemic.
Henry said the measure will allow restaurants to stay open later if they are offering full meal service, but they can’t serve alcohol after the cutoff time.
“We need to protect the people who work in those places, as well as make sure that we don’t have an explosive increase in cases related to an event,” Henry said. “Right now we need to save those parties for the summer.”