PEI

P.E.I. Cannabis sales plummet as stores remain closed due to COVID-19

Sales at P.E.I. Cannabis have fallen close to 70 per cent since retail outlets were closed in order to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Cannabis retail stores on the Island were closed alongside liquor stores on March 19.

'Right now we're probably doing approximately 30 to 35% of our normal business'

While stores are closed, P.E.I. Cannabis says it has seen a spike in online orders. (Steve Bruce/CBC)

Sales in P.E.I. Cannabis have fallen close to 70 per cent since retail outlets were closed in order to help stop the spread of COVID-19. 

Cannabis retail stores on the Island were closed alongside liquor stores on March 19. While some liquor stores on the Island have reopened, the cannabis stores remain closed, although sales can still be made online. 

"Right now we're probably doing approximately 30 to 35 per cent of our normal business that we would do during this time of year," said Zach Currie, director of operations with the P.E.I. Cannabis Management Corporation. 

P.E.I. Cannabis has seen a spike in its online orders, said Currie, and that's where staff have been focusing most of their attention. 

Zach Currie, director of cannabis operations for P.E.I. Cannabis Management Corporation, says staff have been preparing to open when they're given the green light from government. (Steve Bruce/CBC)

"Whether that be through communicating with customers through social media, upholding our mandate of public education through social media, you know, adding new things," he said.

"It's really been kind of shifting things around, getting reorganized and trying to be there for our customers as best as we can during these times." 

P.E.I. Cannabis has waived the shipping costs and has a phone-in option that will help customers navigate the online ordering process.  

Preparing to reopen 

Currie said P.E.I. Cannabis is having regular discussions with government about the feasibility of reopening the stores. He also said preparations are being made in stores so that when the government allows them to open the doors again, P.E.I. Cannabis is ready.

"We've installed Plexiglas barriers, we've introduced measures within the store that, I guess, would limit the amount of retail exploration customers would be able to do," he said.

"We're constantly in contact with security personnel and have an operational plan in place that would see reduced hours and restrict customers in store." 

There were long lines at Cannabis stores on the Island before their closure on March 19. (Isabella Zavarise/CBC)

But, Currie said there's no timeline yet as to when stores could reopen.

While some of the liquor stores on the Island have reopened, no similar plans have been made for cannabis stores. 

"There is an option to buy online and have it delivered to your door and that's the message that has been sent back over and over again," said Steven Myers, minister of transportation, infrastructure and energy. 

"At this point, I think government's comfortable with that. And if anything were to change in that we would certainly be quick to come down and announce that," he said.

"At this point there's no changes to the cannabis model." 

COVID-19: What you need to know

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Common symptoms include:

  • Fever.

  • Cough.

  • Tiredness.

But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia, which can lead to death.

Health Canada has built a self-assessment tool.

What should I do if I feel sick?

Isolate yourself and call 811. Do not visit an emergency room or urgent care centre to get tested. A health professional at 811 will give you advice and instructions.

How can I protect myself?

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

  • Clean regularly touched surfaces regularly.

  • Practise physical distancing.

More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.

More COVID-19 stories from CBC P.E.I.

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