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B.C. bar fined $3,000 for being over customer limit

Inspectors found Vancouver's Shamrock Bar & Grill had more than 70 people on June 17, 2023 despite a capacity of 44 patrons.
A Vancouver pub was fined $3,000 for being over its customer capacity on June 17, 2023.

A Vancouver West End pub has been fined $3,000 for being over its occupancy limit one night last June.

Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch delegate Dianne Flood heard that two branch inspectors and a Vancouver Police Department officer went to the Shamrock Bar & Grill on Denman Street June 17, 2023 and found the pub to be standing room only.

An inspector said they entered the pub but no one was there to greet them.

The inspector said he counted 74 people despite the occupancy being for just 44 patrons. A second inspector counted 77.

The police officer's count resulted in a number of 66 patrons but the manager said he only tallied 54.

Flood said in her Feb. 7 decision that the inspector’s reasons for pursuing enforcement included the risk of serious harm if the building needed to be evacuated and the negative impacts of overcrowding on the neighbourhood, and the licensee’s compliance history.

The inspectors said someone was at the door but appeared to be a patron using a cellphone.

The company's operations director said the door host’s duties also include greeting persons at the door and if, on June 17, 2023, the door host did not greet the inspectors on entry, the door host did not comply with that duty.

The director also pointed to a company policy prohibiting employees from using personal cellphones while at work.

“He said the aim of this policy is for staff members to focus on their duties and responsibilities,” Flood said.

Also, the director said, the door host was to be standing, not sitting. 

The host in question was terminated after the inspection.

Flood noted the manager counted that the pub was over capacity, noting his statement, “I had told our doorman several times to stop new customers from entering the pub.”

Flood found that, despite the licensee having good intentions, the pub’s training and systems to prevent exceeding permitted patron capacity were inadequate.