B.C. cannabis, liquor stores to reduce hours in the name of staff safety

B.C. Cannabis Stores and B.C. Liquor Stores have announced that outlets of both government-run retail will reduce hours in a bid to keep staff safe and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Store hours for B.C. Cannabis Stores have been modified, and they will now open at 10 a.m. and close at 6 p.m. from Monday to Saturday. Sunday hours will be 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The provincially run liquor stores will now operate from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Stores that are normally closed on Sundays will maintain the same closing hours as usual.

The number of clients allowed in the store at one time will also be limited, in an attempt to maintain social distancing efforts and avoid people crowding together. The stores will base restrictions on the size and fire plan of each location.

“These changes will allow B.C. Liquor Store staff to complete additional store cleaning in the off hours, to minimize risk to our employees and customers, and help stem the spread of the COVID-19 virus,” the Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) noted in a public statement this week.

FILE: Washing your hands thoroughly for 20 seconds can help get rid of pathogens that spread the COVID-19. / Photo: POSTMEDIA NETWORK


“As you may know, increased volume of sales and customers has led to challenges in stocking and restocking shelves. The reduced hours will allow staff to receive and safely stock product and ensure availability for customers as LDB has been experiencing staffing shortages as some staff self-isolate,” the statement added.

Private retailers will be unaffected by the changes.

Several other provinces have adopted similar measures this week, with Prince Edward Island opting to shut down liquor and cannabis stores entirely for the foreseeable future.

Some experts, however, believe that reducing store hours could actually yield a higher risk of transmitting the virus between clients, as it often results in customers crowding the stores and lining up outside, rendering it difficult to maintain the recommended distance of six feet apart while stocking up on bud and/or booze. This was the case in P.E.I. earlier this week.


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