More details on liquor access once retail stores close due to COVID-19 expected
'We would never leave Islanders without access to alcohol for their own health'
Details on alternative means for people to purchase alcohol after retail stores closed will be released by the end of the day, chief public health officer Dr. Heather Morrison said during Thursday's daily COVID-19 briefing.
"I think I was not clear yesterday and I am sorry about that," Morrison said.
"We recognize that alcohol-use disorder, alcoholism impacts many families on P.E.I. and alcohol withdrawal is a danger so we would never leave Islanders without access to alcohol for their own health."
The clarification comes after some expressed concern over the closures.
Lineups also began forming at stores following Morrison's announcement Wednesday that all government-owned cannabis and liquor stores would close Thursday at 2 p.m.
There are 17 government-owned liquor and cannabis stores across P.E.I. The closures do not apply to breweries in the province, nor to agency liquor store locations at Wood Islands, Murray Harbour, Morell, Kinkora, Eldon, East Royalty, Wellington and Cavendish.
New policies at agency stores
Since the announcement, several agency stores have changed their policies to deal with the expected influx of customers.
At the agency store in Kinkora, manager Ramona Roberts said there was an "uptick in traffic" after Wednesday's announcement.
The store will now have someone managing the door to only allow up to 10 customers inside at a time and staff will be enforcing a distance of six feet between customers when necessary.
Mel's agency store in East Royalty is enforcing a similar policy.
Roberts said she wants to assure customers that the store will remain fully stocked.
"We're not sure what our demand is going to be so we will be upping our ordering frequency. [The P.E.I. Liquor Commission] have said they'll make every effort to get that product to us," she said.
"So if we don't have it today we're going to have it for you tomorrow. We are going to have that supply for you."
Roberts said while she knows these changes will mean more traffic to the store,"we're doing this for them and we'd like them to help us protect our people who are there to serve them."
In a statement, P.E.I. Cannabis said the COVID-19 related closures only to its physical stores but it would continue to operate its online store.
"Appropriate measures are being taken to ensure home deliveries are carried out in a safe and responsible fashion," it said.