As the provincial government begins relaxing some of the restrictions around public interaction, some BC craft breweries are re-opening their facilities to allow customers in their tasting rooms once again. Here is a look at what the rules are and what the experience will be like.

Phase 2 of British Columbia’s Restart Plan began on May 19, which allows some retail businesses like restaurants, pubs and barbershops to re-open as long as they limit occupancy and follow certain rules around maintaining physical distancing among customers and staff. That means that craft breweries can re-open their tasting rooms once again, which many are starting to do this week.

Please note: BC residents are still asked to stay close to home and avoid any travel between communities that is not essential so you shouldn’t be travelling to other cities or towns to visit craft breweries yet.

The main rules governing brewery tasting rooms during Phase 2 are similar to what is required of restaurants:

a. patrons must be able to maintain a distance of two metres from one another, unless they are in the same party, and from staff;
b. patrons must be seated in such a way that

i. there are two metres between the patrons seated at the same table, unless they are in the same party, and
ii. there are two metres between the patrons seated at one table and the patrons seated at another table, unless they are in the same party;

c. there must be no more than six patrons seated at a table;
d. patrons seated at a counter must be seated so that they can maintain a distance of two metres from other patrons, unless they are in the same party;
e. patrons standing at a counter or table must be able to maintain a distance of two metres from other patrons, unless they are in the same party;
f. there must be no more than 50% of the usual capacity of patrons present at one time;
g. there must be no events held at the establishment that include more than 50 people; and
h. if practicable, businesses must retain contact information for one member of every party of patrons for thirty days in the event that there is a need for contact tracing on the part of the medical health officer.

The distancing requirements mean that some breweries with smaller tasting room spaces may not be able to accommodate customers yet. And the rules stating maximum 50% capacity will mean some breweries won’t be able to serve many people at a time, but at least it’s a start.

As just announced by the LCRB, many breweries will also be allowed to temporarily expand their serving area footprint, including adding an outdoor space in a parking lot or another enclosed area. This will allow many breweries to accommodate customers if their tasting rooms are too confined.

What follows is a run-down of some of the breweries that are re-opening, including some examples of what they are doing to accommodate the required changes.

Remember: if you feel sick at all, you should stay home.


 

 

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We’re getting excited!! Today we hosted friends + family to celebrate getting into this new groove. Tomorrow, our PATIO IS RE-OPENING! Things are a little different, but we’re working hard to make sure you feel that same Field House goodness when you visit 🍻 – What’s New? + BOOK AHEAD. To manage the flow of people and BC Health distancing requirements, we’re asking you RESERVE your patio table ahead of time… no waiting in line-ups when you arrive, just book ahead, and we’ll have your table ready. + WALK INS. On rain-free days, our beer lawn will be open for walk in’s. This will be first come, first serve. + TABLE HOSTING. (again no more line-ups!) All you have to do is grab your seat on the patio or lawn and we’ll bring the good beers + good eats + good times right to you at your table. + Patience. 🖤 We’re so pumped to host you again! We’ve done everything we can to create a new Field House experience and follow all the necessary health protocols. Please give us your support and help as we work out the kinks! – Booking details: + We’ll be releasing a link tomorrow morning! + You can Reserve a Table for your party (up to 6 ppl) + Each reservation allows for a visit of approx. 1.5hrs + You’ll get an email confirmation + When you arrive, one of our friendly crew will greet + check you in! – Can’t wait to see you soon!! – #goodbeersweirdtimes #purveyorsofthegoodlife #fieldtofist

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Abbotsford’s Field House Brewing has implemented booking ahead to avoid line ups, additional tables set up on their existing grassy patio area and table hosting instead of counter service.


 

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Doors are open! . We would like to welcome you all back to our little yet very spacious tasting lounge. We’ve been very busy the last couple weeks, cleaning lines, doing a deep scrub, installing protective barriers, installing sani-stations, designing a new layout to ensure the safety of our guests, working on a new menu (coming out soon) and of course, kegged a bunch of new release beers and icons . We have 13 beers on tap and our limited food menu to start with includes 7 delicious pizzas, our famous nachos and some tasty snacks . As the world continues to change we continue to work hard and adapt. We can assure you we follow the latest recommendations from BCworksafe and WHO and will take every precautionary measure we can to keep all of us safe. Our space is your space, let’s enjoy it together, safely and responsibly Cheers 🍻 ~ Wildeye 🖤 . . #wereallinthistogether #fucovid19

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As shown in the Instagram post above, North Vancouver’s Wildeye Brewing has worked hard to adapt to the New Normal.


For two breweries that opened during the lockdown, this will be the first time they can actually serve customers in their tasting rooms.

Salmo’s Erie Creek Brewing opened on April 4 for growler fills only.

Kelowna’s newest brewery, Jackknife Brewing, is looking forward to serving customers in its space.


Over in Gibsons on the Sunshine Coast, farm-based Persephone Brewing has re-opened its tasting room with limited capacity, but also has a massive picnic area so people can spread out comfortably and enjoy the pleasant spring weather.

 

Not all the breweries in BC are able to re-open right away. Some are choosing not to, citing health or staffing concerns, while others — like New Westminster’s Steel & Oak Brewing shown above — have small tasting rooms spaces that wouldn’t be able to accommodate enough customers under the new rules to be viable. If your local brewery isn’t able to open quite yet, follow along on their social media as they announce their plans over the next few weeks.


For more information about COVID-19, please consult government resources here.

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