You can now legally drink alcohol at select public plazas in Vancouver

Aug 10 2020, 12:42 pm

Starting today, people can bring and consume alcohol at four Vancouver locations as part of a temporary pilot program.

In a release, the city said the goal of this pilot program is to allow people to drink alcohol outside, where physical distancing is easier, as part of the city’s ongoing response β€œto the impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on residents and businesses.”

The pilot is being managed and monitored in partnership with local Business Improvement Associations (BIAs), the city said.

The four sites were selected following an invitation to BIAs to submit proposals for suitable sites based on criteria staff established in consultation with the VPD and VCH.

Alcohol consumption is allowed during specific hours at the following sites:

  • Vancouver Art Gallery, North Plaza (12 – 9 pm)
  • Lot 19 – Hornby and W. Hastings (11 am – 9 pm)
  • Bute-Robson Plaza, South Plaza (11 am – 9 pm)
  • 17th & Cambie Temporary Plaza (11 am – 9 pm)

The city said that each of these sites is highly visible and in a high-traffic area, and offers access to food and transit, all of which promotes safety.

β€œIn partnership with BIAs, the locations will be monitored regularly, so staff can make changes quickly if needed,” the city noted. β€œCity staff are working closely with VPD and pilot partners to identify, mitigate, and plan for risks associated with this work.”

Each of the four pilot locations will cost between $10,000 and $20,000, not including staff time, over the months-long duration. This include costs for signage, waste management, monitoring, and data collection. After the pilot ends, city staff will return to council on pilot findings and learnings.

As well, in the second quarter of 2021, city staff will determine the feasibility of enabling licensed restaurants to allow customers to consume an alcoholic beverage while waiting for a table immediately adjacent to the food establishment.

In the meantime, The pilot project – which was approved by Vancouver City Council on July 29 – will run until October 12 of this year.

Eric ZimmerEric Zimmer

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