With the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 right around the corner, fans watching the game here in B.C. will be able to stay longer at bars and pubs to cheer for their favourite soccer team.
Liquor primary establishments in B.C. have had a temporary extension of their operating hours approved during the World Cup to give fans extra time to enjoy the matches that will be held late at night or in the early morning hours.
The province says there will be no change to the hours of liquor sales and service, but bars, pubs and restaurants will be able to remain open longer and serve non-alcoholic beverages during the extended hours.
"This is the first time that Canada has qualified for the World Cup since 1986," said Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth in a statement Monday.
"In recognition of this, liquor primary establishments can extend their hours so soccer fans can support their team in a positive way with other fans while also supporting the economic recovery of the hospitality sector coming out of the pandemic."
The 10-hour difference between B.C. and Qatar means many of the games will be viewed in B.C. during the early-morning hours.
Ian Tostenson, CEO and president of the B.C. Restaurant and Foodservices Association said while fans may not have the luxury of patio seating this season due to rain, the temporary rules would see restaurants and breakfast spots open earlier to accommodate soccer lovers.
Although drinking hours remain unchanged, Tostenson said that it would not bother most people.
"Most people don't start drinking at seven in the morning," he said.
"It's not always about alcohol. It's really about providing an environment for people to go and have fun and get excited and watch the game and eat, and maybe they want to drink, that's fine. But people don't always go to just drink either."
Expanded hours in the hospitality sector have been granted previously for other international sporting events, such as the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics and the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
In June 2022, Vancouver was approved as one of the host cities for the FIFA World Cup 2026.
The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 runs from Nov. 20 to Dec. 18.