The B.C. government has issued a temporary order allowing private liquor and wine stores to open as early as 7 a.m., to reduce congestion and give older people a shopping opportunity like grocery stores during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Liquor stores can operate between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. if they choose to, until July 15, with delivery services allowed to purchase on behalf of customers during the same hours. The regulation applies to private liquor stores, licensee retail stores, wine stores, specialty and liquor manufacturers with onsite stores. The extended hours also apply to rural agency stores.
The move comes after provincially-owned B.C. Liquor Stores reduced hours and closed stores on Sundays in late March, citing staffing and sanitation limitations that required staff to limit the numbre of people in the store. Private and public stores have installed clear plastic shields at checkouts, and followed grocery stores in suspending use of reusable bags, returning to the familiar plastic.
Sales at B.C. government stores were up 40 per cent in March, as bars were ordered to close and restaurants were mainly restricted to take-out and delivery. B.C. Liquor Stores were included in the province’s essential service list, along with cannabis stores.