The Nova Scotia government is amending the Liquor Licensing Regulations to help the restaurant and bar industry while ensuring protections are still in place for the safe and responsible sale and consumption of alcohol. In addition, restaurants and bars now have the option to include cocktails and mixed drinks for delivery or take-out with food orders while the state of emergency order is in effect. The new regulations allow for more choices for home delivery and take-out of alcohol with food orders. The changes went into effect, May 26, giving bars and restaurants the option to:

  • expand the list of alcoholic beverages allowed with food orders to include manufactured ready-to-drink alcoholic beverages such as coolers
  • increase the value of a bottle of wine allowed with a home delivery to more than three times the cost of the food order to allow higher-end wines to be sold with food purchases

Other changes include:

  • simplifying rules for operators who have both an eating establishment and a lounge licence at the same location and harmonizing hours of operation across all classes of licence by allowing all licensed restaurants and bars to sell or dispense liquor on Sundays starting at 10 a.m. Currently, lounge licensees can’t open until noon
  • allowing children and youth under 19 years of age in all licensed establishments that have food service to stay for one extra hour, until 10 p.m., with a parent or adult guardian

“These changes respond to what we have heard from the restaurant, bar and tourism sectors as ways to support and evolve their businesses,” says Patricia Arab, Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Internal Services. “These changes reduce red tape and support all of our licensed establishments as they provide the excellent service their customers expect. But above all, these changes retain rules and oversight that support the responsible use and serving of alcohol.”

Changes have also been made under the Emergency Management Act. They came into effect May 26, and will continue until the state of emergency ends. They include:

  • allowing for third-party delivery services and drivers to deliver alcoholic beverages with food if they meet certain conditions, including training for the safe and responsible sale of alcohol
  • implementing a 15 per cent cap on fees bars and restaurants pay for third-party deliveries and a 10 per cent cap if a customer uses a food delivery app to order

“In support of our small businesses, we have provided direct funding to them and focussed on reducing red tape, and today’s announcement is another example of our ongoing support,” said Labi Kousoulis, Minister of Inclusive Economic Growth. “Many of these changes will help our hospitality businesses now, through their recovery and over the longer term.”


We are elated with the news from the province that allows us to offer our cocktails to go. This opens up another avenue for our small restaurant and others to provide the cocktail experience at home. Premier Iain Rankin has bridged a gap that has been missing in Nova Scotia – a province that has shown a demand for craft cocktails. Thank you, Premier, for working with us to progress our industry!Ryan Shimozawa, co-owner, The Townhouse, Antigonish

We are very grateful for the government taking a very positive step for cocktail bars, cocktail-focused restaurants and small businesses. We are just flattered to be heard and responded to and we think this is going to be a lifeline for a lot of us. The more ‘inflatable pools’ (our best-selling cocktail) we can sell, the longer we can stay afloat.Matt Boyle, co-owner, Dear Friend and The Clever Barkeep, Dartmouth

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