VANCOUVER -- The B.C. government has changed its liquor laws temporarily in hopes of encouraging restaurants to re-hire out-of-work servers to deliver alcohol during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last week, B.C.'s provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry ordered all restaurants to close their dining rooms and switch to a take-out-and-delivery-only model.

That limited what restaurants with liquor licences could sell, however, since licences typically only allow alcohol to be served to dine-in customers.

On Sunday, the provincial government announced a temporary change, allowing restaurants to deliver liquor products alongside the purchase of a meal. The change takes effect "immediately," and will be in place until July 15, the province said in a news release.

Customers will only be allowed to purchase alcohol if they have also ordered a meal, the province said, and other existing liquor laws still apply, including the need for restaurants to verify customers' identification.

Additionally, the province is requiring individuals who deliver liquor products to be certified with "Serving It Right," a liquor-serving certification that is currently required for all servers in licensed establishments. The government said it hopes this requirement will encourage businesses to use laid-off serving staff to make deliveries involving alcohol.

“In these extraordinary times, more British Columbians are relying on delivery services during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said B.C. Attorney General David Eby, in the release. “Permitting licensed restaurants to hire their out-of-work servers to deliver liquor products as part of their food-delivery service allows the public to continue to observe social distancing measures and also offers much-needed support to these workers and businesses.”