In an effort to preserve the longevity of the restaurants and bars that comprise Newfoundland and Labrador’s culinary community, the provincial government announced today that it will begin implementing a number of liquor policy changes.
Many of the changes respond to longstanding requests from Restaurants Canada’s biennial Raise the Bar reports, which aim to address and improve provincial policies that impact foodservice and hospitality.
Most notably, the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation (NLC) has been approved to provide licensees with a 5 per cent discount on wines, spirits and ready-to-drink beverages. Additionally, all liquor license fees will be waived for the 2020-21 fiscal year, and any fees that have already been paid will be refunded.
“On behalf of all licensed establishments, I want to thank Premier Ball and Minister Osborne for stepping up and throwing a lifeline to these mostly small businesses,” said Luc Erjavec, Restaurants Canada vice president, Atlantic Canada. “While physical distancing measures have been necessary to protect the health and safety of Newfoundlanders, they don’t want to see their favourite bars and restaurants disappear as a result.”
Other changes to the province’s liquor policies include allowing the temporary direct sale of alcohol to customers by licensed establishments that sell prepared meals, temporarily waiving warehousing service fees for select microbreweries, and increasing product commission discounts for select craft breweries, wineries, distilleries and cideries.
Newfoundland and Labrador’s foodservice industry has now lost more than 10,000 jobs and is on track to lose at least $200 million in sales over the second quarter of 2020 due to the impacts of COVID-19.
The province is among the first in Canada to begin providing legitimate lifelines to its hospitality industry, and it'll put a spotlight on other provinces to see if they will follow suit in the near future.
The complete list of policy changes can be found at Restaurants Canada.