Earlier curfew expected to ‘sting’ local pubs

The province’s new curfew for pubs and alcohol service is just one more challenge in what’s already been a tough situation, according to a number of Richmond pub owners.

Last week,  Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry ordered all bars, pubs and restaurants to stop serving alcohol by 10 p.m. and close by 11 p.m., unless a full meal service was being served.

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B.C.’s nightclubs and banquet halls were also ordered to close indefinitely.

Grant Bryan, owner and manager of O’Hare’s Pub in Richmond, called Henry’s curfew decision a “broad rule change” and wished the government would “tackle the individual establishments that were not doing a good job” instead of going after the whole industry.

“This is going to have a real negative impact on the whole industry, which has already seen us reduce shifts and people’s hours,” said Bryan.

 “There are many quality establishments like ours that follow the guidelines to keep people safe, and it’s frustrating that now everyone has to close at 10 p.m.”

Meanwhile, Ryan Moreno, CEO of Joseph Richard Group (JRG) that manages The Buck & Ear Bar & Grill, agreed the hospitality industry is going to “suffer” with the business hour cuts.

Although The Buck & Ear has not had late night hours since re-opening three months ago, prior to the pandemic The Buck would be busiest around midnight and 1 a.m., said Moreno.

“We’ve carried on more as a restaurant so-to-speak … but it’s still unfortunate to not be able to see customers staying late to sit and drink past 10 p.m.,” he added.

Glenn Jensen, co-owner of Legends Pub, said while he worries about his employees, they have been one of the luckier pubs.

“During July and August, when sports season is the busiest, we had people coming in since we’re a sports bar.”

In fact, lately their busiest time has been between 3:30 and 6:30 p.m. on the weekdays, and by 8 p.m. it’s “ghost time,” said Jensen.

 “We got kind of lucky, we have a nice covered outdoor patio and we’re quite steady during the day, but the 10 p.m. curfew is going to sting especially on the weekends.”

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