On November 20, 2012, the Saskatchewan Party government unveiled sweeping changes to the provincial liquor laws and regulations.[i] [Read information about the 70 changes here.] They will come into effect in the spring of 2013.
Of great concern for rural hoteliers is the new regulation doing away with restrictions requiring drinking establishments to also provide hotel rooms, brew pubs or nightly entertainment in order to qualify for a liquor license. In addition, other businesses like restaurants can now operate off-sale outlets. In the words of Murray Mandryk, columnist for the Regina Leader-Post, “We're finally dispensing with the quaint prairie notion that only rural hotels with rooms (regardless of how dilapidated) should be allowed to sell off-sale.”[ii] Nevertheless, these changes have the potential to cause the demise of small-town Saskatchewan hotels – businesses critical to many rural communities.
The long list of changes also includes allowing "strip-tease performances and wet clothing contests in adult-only liquor-permitted premises," although full frontal nudity will continue to be prohibited. It remains to be seen (no pun intended), but perhaps rural hotel owners will embrace this once-banned entertainment offering as a new way to generate revenue.
|CBC: Image source|
© Joan Champ, 2012
[i] Government of Saskatchewan, “Government modernizes more than 70 liquor regulations,” news release, November 20, 2012.