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B.C. liquor, cannabis stores still operating, cut hours

It’s business as usual at government-run liquor and cannabis stores.

However, British Columbia Liquor Distribution Branch spokesperson Viviana Zanocco said there have been a few changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’ve initiated reduced hours for liquor stores yesterday and reduced hours for our cannabis stores today,” she said. “We’re working very hard to make sure that they stay open throughout the COVID-19 situation.”

All B.C. liquor stores across the province will be open from 11:00am to 7:00pm Monday to Saturday and 11:00am to 6:00pm on Sundays. 

On the cannabis side, the store openings are 10:00am to 6:00pm Monday to Saturday and 11:00am to 6:00pm on Sundays.

Zanocco said steps are being taken to protect staff and customers from the virus.

“We are implementing signage and procedures around self distancing, so in cannabis and in liquor stores, there will be dots set out to the lineup for the till. So the person has to stand on the dot and that ensures that there is adequate space between each person in line for service.”

She added that staff are following enhanced cleaning procedures, so there are more frequent wipe-down of such things as door handles, pin pads, and cashier desks.

She said the biggest priority is the safety of the employees and customers.

“To that end we’ll take whatever steps necessary and follow whatever direction (provincial health officer) Dr. Bonnie Henry sends down to make sure that everybody stays safe.”

Zanocco said demand jumped at stores as bars and restaurants started closing, which has been a challenge for staff.

“That’s partly one of the reasons why we took the necessary steps to reduce hours,” she added. “We just didn’t have enough time to stock things. Where we need to, we also have to limit the number of people in the store. That’s part of the social distancing but also part of just, order. We want to make sure we serve people appropriately and well.”

As far as supply, Zanocco doesn’t foresee any disruptions anytime soon.

“We are working with our business partners, suppliers and stakeholders to ensure all our supply chains are not disrupted.”

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