New liquor laws, we swear it

Changes to Liquor law ad­dress, among other is­sues, serv­ing hours, winer­ies and curs­ing

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE ISLAND - BY STU­ART NEATBY

Steve Bar­ber, owner of Hunter’s Ale House in Char­lot­te­town, has had many nights where he has been forced to turn away tourists, ac­com­pa­nied by chil­dren, who were look­ing to or­der food af­ter ar­riv­ing down­town late in the evening.

He said liquor reg­u­la­tions on P.E.I. pro­hibit mi­nors who are ac­com­pa­nied by par­ents from or­der­ing a meal at bars and restau­rants af­ter 9 p.m. and re­quire mi­nors to leave these es­tab­lish­ments by 10.

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to ap­proach a ta­ble and say, ‘folks, it’s a lit­tle af­ter 10 p.m. here, I have to ask you to leave,’” Bar­ber said.

“In the sum­mer­time, that hap­pens prob­a­bly mul­ti­ple times a night.”

Bar­ber said re­cent changes made to reg­u­la­tions of the Liquor Con­trol Act, which will al­low the cut-off for mi­nors ac­com­pa­nied by par­ents to or­der meals to be ex­tended to 2 a.m., are a wel­come change.

“For us, that’s a huge in­crease,” Bar­ber said.

The changes, which come into ef­fect Saturday, will also al­low for a sim­pli­fied ap­proval process for per­mit­ting un­der­age en­ter­tain­ers in li­censed es­tab­lish­ments. In ad­di­tion, they will give mi­nors ac­cess to these es­tab­lish­ments for a wider range of events, such as birth­days, wed­dings or com­mu­nity fundrais­ers, as long as they are not con­sum­ing al­co­hol.

The changes will also re­duce the re­quired acreage on or ad­ja­cent to winer­ies, will re­duce the pack­age sales li­cense fee from $50 to $25 and will al­low hold­ers of clubs or other es­tab­lish­ments to ap­ply for a caterer’s li­cense.

The changes will al­low li­censed es­tab­lish­ments to per­mit pa­trons to curse with­out fac­ing sanc­tion. A clause pro­hibit­ing “vul­gar or pro­fane lan­guage” in li­censed es­tab­lish­ments has been re­moved, al­though the reg­u­la­tions still pro­hibit “dis­or­derly con­duct.”

The amend­ments to reg­u­la­tions of the Liquor Con­trol Act were de­signed to ad­dress “a num­ber of sim­ple ir­ri­tants iden­ti­fied by the com­mu­nity,” ac­cord­ing to a state­ment by Fi­nance Min­is­ter Heath MacDonald.

Luc Er­javec, vice-pres­i­dent – At­lantic for Restau­rants Canada, be­lieves the Is­land has been pro­gres­sive in its con­tin­ual im­prove­ments to reg­u­la­tions of the Liquor Con­trol Act.

“The gov­ern­ment of P.E.I. has clearly rec­og­nized the restau­rant and bar in­dus­try and li­censees as an in­te­gral part of the busi­ness com­mu­nity,” said Er­javec, who was sur­prised the pro­vi­sion that pro­hib­ited “vul­gar or pro­fane” lan­guage, a le­gal con­cern of a by­gone era, had re­mained in the reg­u­la­tions.

“It’s one of those strange holdovers that has just been there,” he said.

Ac­cord­ing to a state­ment is­sued by the Depart­ment of Fi­nance, there ap­pear to have been no re­cent in­stances of en­force­ment of the clause that pro­hib­ited curs­ing.

“No ac­tion has been taken on this, it was sim­ply an out-of-date reg­u­la­tion that we mod­ern­ized,” the state­ment said.

FILE PHOTO

Fi­nance Min­is­ter Heath MacDonald

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