The City of Penticton will allow drinking in public spaces. The decision was made Tuesday, June 2, 2020 in a virtual city council meeting. (Cannery Brewing photo)

More research required ahead of public drinking in Vernon

City staff recommend consultation with RCMP, Interior Health Authority before taking next steps

Booze in public may take some time if Vernon council is in favour of it.

City staff are recommending council seek more information from police and Interior Health before considering allowing consumption of alcohol in public places, which is intended to aid businesses offering takeout options during the COVID-19 pandemic.

City Coun. Scott Anderson raised the point during the May 25 regular meeting and pointed to the City of Penticton’s consideration of licensing specific public places during set hours as an example.

“Restaurants are constrained in who they can serve and many serve alcohol in their takeout,” Anderson said, noting he’s seen more and more people enjoying their takeout in outdoor spaces.

Coun. Akbal Mund said he’s “totally against that.”

“Now that bars are opening, businesses would be losing money if people can bring their own alcohol,” Mund said. “If we’re going to do a report, let’s look at the ramifications of that and if they would potentially lose sales.”

On June 2, the City of Penticton, which is home to 30 wineries, seven breweries and two distilleries, approved a one-month pilot project after nearly two hours of debate.

The final vote was 4-2.

The project will allow for drinking in designated areas between noon and 8 p.m. effective June 3.

Beginning June 10, for two weeks, the city will start to obtain public feedback on how the new project is working.

The findings of this public input will be presented to Penticton council at a future date.

In a recent Vernon Morning Star poll, respondents appeared to be pretty divided with 53 per cent in favour of drinking with takeout and 46 per cent against it.

The report from administration will come before Vernon council during the regular meeting on June 8.

READ MORE: Pilot project approved: Penticton to allow alcohol in outdoor spaces

READ MORE: POLL: Drinks in the park in Vernon?


@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@vernonmorningstar.com

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