VANCOUVER -- Restaurants have been struggling to stay afloat since the pandemic hit, but there has been a silver lining: relaxed liquor laws mean customers can get their booze delivered along with their meals.

Reuben Major, a partner and managing director at Havana on Commercial Drive, said booze-to-go now makes up 30 per cent of their sales.

They’ve also created mimosa and Caesar kits for weekends and special occasions like Mother’s Day, adding they’re trying to do what they can to generate revenue.

“It’s been dramatic,” Major said. “We’re down probably about 90 per cent in sales, and some weeks are worse than that.”

The province relaxed liquor rules at the end of March in an effort to help licensed restaurants provide alcohol along with their meals.

A variety of wine and craft beer are on display by the takeout window, where a nearby sign advertises "cold beer and wine, no line."

“People have been really supportive and knowing that they can pick up a four-pack, maybe a cider or some wine, I think they appreciate that and we certainly appreciate the support,” he said.

Over at Olympic Village, Brewhall has also seen a major plunge in revenue.

“It’s been really bad. On any given week, we’re down 80 to 90 per cent in sales and we’ve laid off about that many people as well,” said manager Nick Menzies.

He said the alcohol deliveries and take-out aren’t a huge revenue booster but “every dollar in sales really helps.”

“The liquor stores have huge lineups and those types of situations in a time like this can is really stressful,” he said. “What this change in rules has done, I think, helps society and helps our customers be safer.”

Ian Tostenson, head of the B.C. Restaurant Association, said the change makes sense during the pandemic when people are being told to stay home as much as possible.

“You don’t have to worry about getting food and then going to the liquor store,” he said.

In the province’s original announcement, it said this will only be a temporary change that’s anticipated to last until July 15.

But Tostenson is optimistic officials may have a change of heart.

“I can’t imagine in my lifetime the government going, ‘OK that’s it, COVID is over; the economy is rockin', and then take this away from restaurants. It’s part of the restaurants’ DNA now and more importantly, it’s part of the customers’ DNA,” he said.

According to the Ministry of the Attorney General, the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch will continue to review and update policies following direction from the provincial health officer.

“We are working on identifying ways to continue supporting restaurants and other businesses as we continue to rebuild as part of our Restart BC Plan,” the ministry said in an email.

While the booze take-out sales have provided some relief, restaurants are most looking forward to providing dine-in service again.

Premier John Horgan gave the industry the green light to re-open after the long weekend but Tostensen said many businesses will likely resume sit-down meals in June to ensure they have all the measures in place for their patrons and employees to feel safe.