VICTORIA -- The B.C. government is temporarily allowing restaurants, bars and tourism operators to purchase liquor at wholesale prices amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The cost reduction is intended to provide financial support for businesses in these industries, which previously had to purchase beer, wine and spirits at regular retail costs.

“The hospitality industry has been one of the hardest hit during the pandemic, badly hurting the more than 190,000 British Columbians who work within the sector,” said B.C. Attorney General David Eby in a release Tuesday.

“Offering a wholesale discount for licensees was something we were exploring before COVID-19, but after the onset of the pandemic we accelerated efforts in order to support these community businesses as they try to find their feet.”

The cost reduction will come into effect at the end of July and last until March 31, 2021 for all hospitality and tourism operators with valid liquor licences. After March of next year, the program will be reviewed and possibly extended.

Meanwhile, the B.C. government says that it is working on other measures to help support the hospitality and tourism industry.

The additional measures include converting liquor licence regulations in rural areas to the purview of the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch rather than the Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) and changes to the LDB distribution centre in Delta that were recommended by a third-party assessment.

The provincial government says that further changes are also in the works to help the hospitality industry recovery from the global pandemic that were recommended in a report created by the Business Technical Advisory Panel (BTAP). The BTAP report can be found here.