All Winnipeg Liquor Marts to be outfitted with locked, controlled entrances
Customers will need to show ID to enter; no minors, including those with an adult, will be allowed inside
All Winnipeg Liquor Marts will be fitted with locked, controlled entrances in the coming weeks and months, following months of brazen thefts.
Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries announced the move Thursday after a violent, unprovoked attack on liquor store workers at the Tyndall Park Liquor Mart on Wednesday.
The Tyndall Park location will be the first fitted with the new secure entrance. Customers will have to show photo ID at a security station before being allowed inside through a locked inner door.
As a result, minors will no longer be permitted inside Winnipeg Liquor Marts, even if accompanied by an adult, says a statement from Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries.
"As a modern retailer, we have tried to balance employee and customer safety with an enjoyable shopping experience. Unfortunately, rising crime in the city, has left us no option but to take these drastic measures," reads the statement.
"We know you will be inconvenienced, and we are sorry, but the safety of our employees and customers comes first."
The Tyndall Park store has been closed since Wednesday's incident. Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries expects to reopen it next week with the new secure entrance.
The Crown corporation says it won't be releasing any further details on the roll-out of the new entrances, saying it could make their other stores more vulnerable.
Police estimate there are at least 10-20 liquor thefts across the city every day.
Over the last year, several videos have surfaced online showing thieves boldly taking armloads of bottles and stuffing them into bags before walking past staff, who have been instructed not to intervene because of safety concerns.
These thefts have at times become violent, with staff being threatened with weapons, or the bottles themselves.