Dozens of Manitoba bars and restaurants have responded to a provincial offer to open early Sunday morning and serve booze during the Olympic hockey gold-medal game.
Canada plays Sweden for Olympic gold at 6 a.m. Winnipeg time on Sunday. Manitoba lounges, dining rooms, cabarets, private clubs and beverage rooms were invited to open at 5 a.m. Sunday, provided they applied to the Manitoba Liquor Control Commission on Friday.
A total of 76 applications were received and permitted, said Elizabeth Stephenson, chief administrative officer for the Liquor and Gaming Authority of Manitoba. The authority chose to go the permit route rather than allow all 1,600 Manitoba licensees to open early because such an offer had never been made before.
"It’s not a blanket approval," Stephenson said. "This is the first time they’ve been permitted to open this early, so we want to assess how well it goes."
Authorities made the move in response to requests from liquor-serving establishments. The province is also preparing to modernize Manitoba liquor regulations in April.