Liquor rules change in Saskatchewan

November 20, 2012 - 10:43am Updated: November 20, 2012 - 8:27pm
Flip Eatery and Drink in Regina.  Patrick Book/CJME News.
Flip Eatery and Drink in Regina. Patrick Book/CJME News.

You're going to be able to drink in more places in Saskatchewan soon, as part of a sweeping change to liquor regulations.  You'll even be able to drink while people take their clothes off, as long as they don't get completely naked.

Seventy-seven changes are being unveiled by Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority Minister Donna Harpauer.  She made the announcement at a day spa, to make the point that spas and salons will be able to serve alcohol to customers.

Movie theatres will be allowed to sell liquor in adult only areas, restaurants and bars will be allowed to operate off sale, and you'll no longer have to buy food at a restaurant before being allowed to order alcohol.

The government describes it as a modernizing of the rules, with a focus on reducing red tape and creating new opportunities for businesses. 

"Saskatchewan has many liquor regulations that haven't undergone a comprehensive review for decades," said Harpauer.

It comes from a government-wide review of red tape begun two years ago. Alcohol regulations were first in line.

Alcohol will be able to be served at strip-tease performances and wet clothing contests in adult-only premises, but full-frontal nudity will still be prohibited.

Other rule changes include allowing the sale of alcohol to begin sooner on Sundays and holidays.  It'll now be 9:30 a.m.  Restaurants are being allowed to let customers bring their own wine, golf courses will be able to decide how many beer carts they want to operate as compared to the current limit of one cart or kiosk per nine holes and two drinks per player. Restaurant lounges can be bigger,and brew pubs can more than double the amount they produce each year.

Bingo Halls will have more flexibility to sell alcohol as well. If you're ordering alcohol from out of province for personal use, the limit is being increased.  You'll now be allowed four 750 millilitre bottles of spirits, 12 750 millilitre bottles of wine and six dozen beer or coolers.

For a complete list of the changes, click here.

Some of the changes will have to be passed by the legislature and that may not happen till the spring session. The government says the changes will occur in the coming months.

NDP Reaction

The NDP isn't opposed to any of the government's proposed regulatory changes.  But MP Warren McCall says the opposition will be keeping a close eye on how the changes are rolled out, and how they're enforced.

McCall is concerned that there isn't an increased focus on education and treatment for alcohol-related problems.

"There's a lot of problems that Saskatchewan has around addictions, drunk driving, education and prevention.  If you can have a big plan on one side of the equation, you're going to need a big response."

Edited by CJME's Murray Wood and Courtney Mintenko.  With files from Patrick Book and Sarah Mills.