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Council approves alcohol consumption at four public plazas as part of new temporary pilot program

Not everyone has access to their own private outdoor space, and I hope this change signals the beginning of a more vibrant approach to how residents can enjoy themselves outdoors.

Mayor Kennedy Stewart

July 30 2020 –

Vancouver City Council has approved a temporary pilot program allowing public consumption of alcohol in select locations from August 10 to mid-October 2020. 

The intent of the pilot program is to give people an opportunity to enjoy alcohol outside where physical distancing is easier. The pilot supports residents who do not have access to private outdoor spaces, such as a balcony or backyard, by providing designated spaces where they can bring and consume alcohol within specified hours.

It’s the latest measure in our ongoing response to the impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on our residents and businesses.

Pilot locations

The pilot will be implemented in the following four locations: 

  • šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl'e7énk Square (Vancouver Art Gallery – North Plaza) - Noon to 9pm
  • Lot 19 (Hornby St and W Hastings) - 11am to 9pm
  • Bute-Robson Plaza (south of Robson) - 11am to 9pm
  • 17th and Cambie Temporary Pop-up Plaza - 11am to 9pm

Partnership with Business Improvement Associations

These sites will be managed and monitored in partnership with local Business Improvement Associations (BIAs) .

The locations were selected following an invitation to BIAs to submit proposals for suitable sites based on criteria staff established in consultation with the Vancouver Police Department and Vancouver Coastal Health. Each of the spaces are in commercial areas with access to food and transit, which are key factors in promoting safety and visibility. 

In partnership with BIAs, the pilot locations will be monitored regularly and the data collected will also inform longer-term policy development around public spaces. 

City staff are working closely with VPD and pilot partners to identify, mitigate, and plan for risks associated with this pilot. This includes setting up site management and stewardship plans with partners, on-site signage with health and safety information as well as on-site behaviour rules. 

Quotes

Mayor Kennedy Stewart

"This pilot program is a responsible way to allow people to safely physically distance while enjoying a drink outside in our city," said Mayor Kennedy Stewart. "Not everyone has access to their own private outdoor space, and I hope this change signals the beginning of a more vibrant approach to how residents can enjoy themselves outdoors."