VICTORIA -- The B.C. government has made some sweeping changes when it comes to how much the hospitality industry has to pay for alcoholic beverages.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic began, restaurants, bars and tourism operators had to pay full retail price for virtually all liquor purchases, the same as individual British Columbians at liquor stores.

In June, the province lowered the cost of liquor for hospitality businesses to wholesale costs to support the sector through the pandemic. The wholesale pricing was originally scheduled to expire on March 31, but now the price reduction has been made permanent.

“Early in the pandemic, our government took urgent action to support B.C. restaurants and pubs by allowing them to purchase alcohol at a wholesale cost,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, in an announcement Tuesday.

“Now we are making this change permanent to give these businesses certainty and help them recover, and to help the estimated 190,000 British Columbians who work in this sector,” he said.

Restaurants, bars and tourism operators will now be paying the same prices that the provincial government and private liquor stores pay when purchasing alcohol products.