Here are the key issues around new rules governing how restaurants operate:
– The main issue for the city in creating the new bylaw is to ensure that food primary establishments (restaurants) are not doing business in the same manner as liquor primary establishments (bars).
– To become a liquor primary establishment there are a great deal more regulations and costs to deal with in regard to security and neighbourhood consultations.
– The bylaw states that, “Liquor Primary establishments are subject to location restrictions and a variety of operating regulations such as training and identification measures for staff, entry/exit requirements, hiring of security personnel, and acoustical standards. In addition, in order to open a liquor primary establishment, a public consultation process, including solicitation of input from neighbouring residents, must be conducted.”
– The main regulation on restaurants is that food service must be the primary objective. As stated in the Liquor Control and Licensing Act, when observing the operation of a restaurant a Provincial liquor inspector is to consider kitchen equipment, furnishings and lighting, the menu, hours of operation, advertising, financial records, and the ratio of food sales to liquor sales as stated in sales receipts.
– The primary concern with the hiring of new bylaw enforcement officers is the position involves a great deal of discretion in defining what is the operation of a restaurant.
– The bylaw itself states, “the blurred distinction between licensed restaurants and bars reduced the ability of enforcement staff (primarily Property Use Inspectors and Vancouver Police Department patrol members) to identify by-law violations. To the casual or trained observer there is little difference between patron and staff behaviour in many restaurants and in Liquor Primary settings. As a result, it is now easier for some restaurateurs to operate outside of their class of liquor license (i.e. like a bar) undetected.”
– Since the 50/50 stipulation has been removed from the bylaw, enforcement officers will be back to square one when trying to define the difference between the two.