Tweaks to public health regulations governing bars and restaurants will mean few changes for the province’s wineries.
A surge in cases prompted the province’s public health officials to clamp down and ban dancing and require patrons to be seated to receive service at bars, restaurants and other licensed establishments. In addition, parties are limited to groups of six.
However, wineries and other premises serving alcohol under a manufacturing licence are exempt from the seating requirement.
“Patrons in premises with a manufacturing licence may leave their seats to go to a bar for the purpose of being served a drink,” notes a summary of the new rules the BC Wine Institute distributed. “[Wineries] can continue to provide standing counter tasting experiences and sampling provided they follow the [public health order] and BCWI’s Winery and Hospitality Best Practices.”
This means premises such as Hugging Tree Winery in Keremeos, which reopens on August 1 following a move to an 11.6-acre parcel acquired at the end of 2019, won’t need to adjust protocols much from those announced June 19.
“We are taking extra precautions to ensure the safety of our family, staff, and guests,” the winery notes on its site. “We are currently accepting reservations, with a maximum capacity of 6 people per group.”
The opening is one of several launches in the popular wine-touring region this summer. While border closures keep tourists close to home this summer, keeping wineries and other agri-tourism operations virus-free is a top priority.
To date, all known COVID-19 outbreaks on farms have been confined to the farm premises.