Temporary expanded service area (TESA) authorization

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In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Provincial Health Officer’s (PHO) orders, the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB) implemented Temporary Expanded Service Area (TESA) authorizations starting in May 2020.  A TESA authorizes Food Primary, Liquor Primary, and Manufacturer licensees to temporarily expand their service areas but does not increase the approved occupant load or capacity.  The increased service area allows licensees to serve patrons while complying with the PHO’s guidelines regarding physical distancing. 

Licensees were able to apply online for an expedited TESA authorization at no charge until November 1, 2021, when the LCRB stopped accepting new applications. 

TESA expiry 

Policy Directive 22-05 enables the General Manager of the LCRB to extend all current TESA authorizations to March 31, 2023. Licensees do not need to apply for this extension and there are no associated costs for licensees.

Local governments and Indigenous Nations can raise concerns until April 22, 2022, about existing TESA authorizations in their jurisdictions before those TESAs are extended. 

Apply for a permanent licensed area

Licensees should apply for a new outdoor patio, permanent structural change (indoor), or manufacturer endorsement if they wish to operate their TESA past the March 31, 2023, expiry date.

Approval for a permanent structural change can take up to 10 months to complete. Applying early can help prevent disruptions in business after the March 31, 2023, expiry of the temporary authorization. 

Not all TESA authorizations will be viable permanent patios. Before you apply and pay the fee, work with your local government and authorities to make sure the permanent patio or structural change complies with all local permits, guidelines, bylaws and requirements (for example, check if the patio is on public property or Agricultural Land Reserve).

Patio requirements


Occupant load

Before the application is submitted, you need a floor plan with a current occupant load stamp signed and dated within the last 12 months. The floor plan should clearly show the structural change. The application will not be approved without an occupant load stamp on the floor plan. 

The occupant load is generally determined by the local government or Indigenous Nation fire and/or building authorities. If the LG/IN will not provide the occupant load, the licensee should submit a letter with the application stating this. The Branch will then accept an occupant load stamp dated and signed by a registered professional architect or engineer.

The LCRB made important policy changes to support the transition of TESAs to permanent service areas. Section 16: Patios in the Liquor Policy Manual, and the terms and conditions handbooks were updated to reflect a new policy on patio bounding.

The updated policy requires the boundaries of outdoor service areas to be clearly marked and is less prescriptive on the nature/type of patio bounding. Licensees are responsible for selecting patio bounding to ensure compliance with regulations.

Although a patio is a permanent addition to a licence, licensees only need valid interest for the patio area when the patio is in operation. For example, if a licensee only intends to sell and serve liquor on the patio between April and September, they need only have valid interest for that period.

A licensee may be required to provide documents that prove valid interest in their application. For example:

  • Certificate of Title demonstrating ownership
  • Annual lease agreement
  • Letter of confirmation from the owner of the land or municipality 

Licensees with seasonal patios are still required to apply for a new outdoor patio to operate their TESA permanently. Licensees can indicate which months the patio will be operating when submitting the application. Once a permanent structural change or patio is approved, licensees do not need to reapply annually to the LCRB. Local governments or Indigenous Nations may have a separate application process for patios in their jurisdiction. 


How to apply

Liquor Primary or Food Primary

To apply as a Liquor Primary or Food Primary licensee:

  1. Log in to the liquor and cannabis licensing portal with a BCeID
  2. Go to the "Licences and Authorizations" dashboard and find the licence you want to change.
  3. Select:
    • "New Outdoor Patio" for an outdoor TESA or 
    • "Structural Change Application" for an indoor TESA
  4. Complete the application.


The instructions for Manufacturer licensees vary depending on the licence endorsement the TESA is associated with. Visit the Change a manufacturer licence page to see which application can make your TESA permanent. 


Liquor Primary and Food Primary application fee: $440

Manufacturer application fee: Varies

Information for local authorities

If local bylaws or requirements change and prevent the operation of TESAs in that jurisdiction, the local authority should advise the LCRB.

Local governments and Indigenous Nations have until April 22, 2022, to raise concerns about existing TESA authorizations in their jurisdiction before those temporary authorizations are automatically extended by the LCRB.

Local governments and Indigenous Nations can find out more about the community input process and their role in liquor licensing.

Liquor Primary or Manufacturer patios

New outdoor patio applications for Liquor Primary and Manufacturer licences are sent to the local government or Indigenous Nation to complete the resolution and community input process. 

Food Primary patios

A new outdoor patio for a Food Primary licence will not be sent to the local government or Indigenous Nation, since the community input process and resolution are not required. However the licensee is expected to have the required permits in place when applying for the patio.  

Other Manufacturer TESAs

Local government or Indigenous Nation approvals for manufacturer change applications vary depending on the type of endorsement associated with the TESA.