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AGLC can’t mandate whether liquor and cannabis retailers should close amid COVID-19 pandemic

Hundreds of people lined up at Nova Cannabis near 80 Avenue and 104 Street in south Edmonton on Oct. 17, 2018, on the first day of marijuana legalization in Canada. 
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Hundreds of people lined up at Nova Cannabis near 80 Avenue and 104 Street in south Edmonton on Oct. 17, 2018, on the first day of marijuana legalization in Canada. . Dayne Winter, Global News

As the state of public health emergency continues in Alberta, it looks like residents may still be able to access liquor and wine stores amid the COVID-19 global pandemic.

On Wednesday, Prince Edward Island announced, effective Thursday afternoon, liquor and cannabis stores in that province would close as the province announced all non-essential services would close down.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Liquor, cannabis stores to shut down across P.E.I. on Thursday

According to Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis, the same may not happen here.

“Liquor and cannabis retail stores are not impacted at this time,” Heather Holmen with AGLC said in a statement.

“In Alberta, retail liquor and cannabis stores are independently owned and operated. It is at the discretion of licensees/owners to make decisions that best serve their businesses.”

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Holmen recommended those looking to find out whether their local liquor or cannabis store remains open to call before going. A list of cannabis retailers and liquor retailers is available on the AGLC website.

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READ MORE: Premier Jason Kenney declares COVID-19 public health emergency in Alberta

Residents can also order cannabis online.

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Holmen couldn’t say whether liquor or cannabis stores have seen a spike since the pandemic began.

“Unfortunately, we are unable to share data specific to retail orders or trends, as retail liquor and cannabis stores are privately owned and operated in Alberta and AGLC does not receive sales data.”

On Tuesday, Premier Jason Kenney declared a public state of emergency in Alberta. In doing so, he put into place aggressive new measures in an attempt to slow cases of the novel coronavirus. Gatherings of 50 or more — including weddings or funerals — were banned.

Alberta premier declares public health emergency amid COVID-19 pandemic
Alberta premier declares public health emergency amid COVID-19 pandemic

Members of the public were also banned from public places like casinos, bingo halls, theatres, children’s play centres, recreation centres and arenas, science centres, museums and art galleries, community centres, fitness facilities and entertainment facilities like movie theatres.

While it was not mandated that restaurants close immediately, in reaction to Kenney’s announcement, many decided to move to only offer delivery or pick-up options, or to close all together.