Not all raising a glass to new liquor laws

By Vanessa Ybarra
November 17, 2016 - 5:34pm Updated: November 18, 2016 - 3:36pm

KAMLOOPS — Come the new year, retail businesses will be allowed to apply for a liquor license.

This week, the BC government announced starting January 23 operations such as hairdressers, bookstores, salons and even art galleries can apply to serve liquor on site.

For the past two years, Ray Salmond, Co-Owner and Stylist at The House of Carmond, has been applying to get a formal liquor permit.

Once January rolls around he intends to be first in line. "It just ties right into the whole experience of it all," said Salmond. "Here you're here for two and a half, sometimes three hours getting a chemical service done. During that process you're sitting with your stylist, enjoying a good conversation. It just promotes the idea of the environment being a relaxing one."

According to the BC government, all staff serving liquor are required to have a Serving-It-Right certificate.

Businesses must also not operate from a motor vehicle or target minors.

Roxanne Engli with Mothers Against Drunk Driving Kamloops (MADD) says the change may lead to more intoxicated drivers on the road.

"You know there's always a concern when the availability of alcohol becomes easier. We have all sorts of statistics that show when you put alcohol into corner stores and now they're talking about barber shops it causes more of a problem," said Engli. "It causes more drinking and driving, it causes more impairment and everything that goes with it."

Engli says unlike pubs and restaurants, most people go to the salon alone, making it more difficult for friends or family members to take the wheel.

With the BC government yet to release details on how exactly the new licensing will work, many store owners opinions remain on the shelf.

"Some people have a purist idea and feel alcohol shouldn't mix with books," says Jason Wiggins, owner of The Book Place.

"Some people mention the potential insurance issues with having customer responsibility. Once they go out their door, there's excess costs in more personnel and insurance. So there's there's things to think about."

The new licensing rules come into effect January 23.

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