Playing by the Rules 

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Most Whistler establishments who qualify for a greater capacity have already applied to the government, and Schweighardt expects will they will be approved in the coming months. Pubs, lounges and cabarets will be able to increase their licensed capacity by up to 50 per cent, or up to their building’s safe capacity (as determined by the fire department), whichever is lower. Approval of the liquor control and licensing branch is required, and so ideally is the approval of local governments.

While he doesn’t expect any serious problems for local business owners, and believes that the overall big picture is a positive one, he feels license holders will require some time to get used to the new laws.

"Definitely (the new liquor laws) make it a level playing field for all individuals, so all those people who have had some advantages in the past shouldn’t have those advantages any more," says Schweighardt.

"I don’t know that there’s a big adjustment, but I think the liquor board itself has to make some adjustments because they are new rules. They’re also in a learning curve. I’m hoping that (the new laws) are somewhat flexible for all licensees who may not understand them yet."

Jorge Alvarez, the manager of Maxx Fish, agrees that the laws could create a level playing field if they’re applied and likes the idea of having a liquor inspector in town to keep things equal. However, he feels that the new laws don’t go far enough.

"Some of these laws are archaic," he says.

"Say you have live entertainment, the guys in the band are not allowed to drink. Come on – it’s rock and roll. It’s the same thing with DJ’s, these guys who play all over the world where the laws are more lenient. You have to explain B.C. laws to them but it still doesn’t make any sense.

"They’re here to entertain, not to put on a clown show, but under our laws they’re considered employees. They don’t understand it, and I don’t either."

Alvarez says there are dozens of other laws in the book that he feels don’t make a lot of sense, and that were not part of the review.

"We’re trying to be a World Class resort where people go to have a good time, and yet we have some of the most restrictive liquor laws in the free world. It doesn’t add up."

 

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