July 4, 2019 2:43 pm
Updated: July 4, 2019 2:45 pm

Manitoba to review holiday shopping restrictions, says Premier Brian Pallister

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister responds to questions during a news conference at the first ministers meeting in Montreal on December 7, 2018.

The Canadian Press

Premier Brian Pallister says he is reviewing holiday shopping restrictions that keep grocery stores closed while liquor and cannabis stores can be open.

Pallister is not making any promises but says the government is reviewing possible changes and he would personally like to let municipalities set their own rules.

Munther Zeid, the owner of Food Fare, which has several stores in Winnipeg, said they were fined in May for opening their store on Good Friday, and were visited by provincial representatives Canada Day, when they again opened, contrary to the law.

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“Its very unfair,” said Zeid at the end of May. “It’s a stat holiday, a general holiday, and yet this morning I looked on the website after getting the ticket, the general holiday also shows Victoria Day, which just happened a week or so ago.

“A lot of businesses were open and nobody said boo. I don’t get it.”

However, cannabis stores and the local casinos were allowed to open on Good Friday, something many religions object to, he said.

READ MORE: Independent grocer faces $10,000 fine for opening Winnipeg store on Good Friday

“When I found out that the weed stores were allowed to open, I opened up one of my stores, so it’s just the principle of it,” he said.

The current law states grocery and other retail stores cannot open on statutory holidays, unless the store regularly runs with four or fewer employees, including the owner.

Zeid started a petition at his stores to ask the provincial government to change the law. That petition has not been presented to the Manitoba Government.

Pallister hinted he may have more to say closer to the provincial election on Sept. 10.

-With files from The Canadian Press

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