A week after a violent robbery closed the Tyndall Park Liquor Mart, the store is set to reopen with new security measures at its front doors.
The store has been closed since Nov. 20 when a female employee had to be rushed to hospital following a violent robbery that saw her punched in the face and other employees attacked as well.
At the time Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries said the store would remain closed until a new secure entrance way could be completed at the location.
That work is done, and the store will open Wednesday, according to the MLL.
“As a modern retailer, we have tried to balance employee and customer safety with an enjoyable shopping experience,” the crown corporation said in a release Wednesady.
“Unfortunately, the brazen thefts that have inundated us over the last 18 months has left us no option but to take these drastic measures.”
The entrance way will see the store’s inner door locked, and customers will have to have a valid photo ID scanned at a security station before being allowed into the store.
The MLL said the new entrances will be rolled out at all other Winnipeg Liquor Marts over the coming weeks and months.
Minors, including small children, will no longer be allowed into locations retrofitted with controlled entrances.
Thefts at Liquor Marts have been rampant in the past few years.
Numbers from Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries show incidents of theft rose more than 300 per cent in 2018 from 2017, jumping from 658 thefts in Liquor Marts to more than 2,600 in 2018.
The problem has garnered more public attention in recent months as videos of the brazen and sometimes violent thefts make the rounds on social media.
Customers leaving the Tyndall Market Liquor Mart Wednesday seemed content with the new security measures.
“Very good,” Ernie Hamp said. “Safer for everybody.”
Darrell Barton agreed that the process is straight-forward and thinks it might help address the rampant thefts.
The MLL also said it is expanding the presence of police in city liquor stores.
Meanwhile the employee who was punched in the face in the robbery held a press conference Wednesday, telling reporters she thought she was going to die.
Randi Chase, 26, said the assault that left her unconscious from a punch to the head caused her a concussion, loss of appetite and an ongoing fear of being attacked again.
The union that represents liquor store workers says many are afraid for their safety on the job now, and it wants a summit of governments, law enforcement, workers and others to find a solution.
“This is a Manitoba crisis, it’s going to take Manitobans to pull it together,” said Michelle Gawronsky, president of the Manitoba Government and General Employees’ Union, at the same press conference.
–With files from The Canadian Press