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NSLC goes cashless, limits customer numbers amid COVID-19 pandemic

The NSLC has reduced its hours and gone cashless in a bid to limit the spread of COVID-19 through its stores. THE CANADIAN PRESS

Update: The Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation has reversed its decision

In its latest bid to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation is going cashless.

The NSLC announced Thursday on social media that effective immediately, customers will have to pay by debit or credit card in all of its locations.

It’s also implementing new social distancing measures, asking patrons to bag their own products and stay away from the cashiers, while capping the number of people allowed in a store at a given time.

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

“We appreciate our customers respecting this measure as we work together to balance safety with being able to provide service,” said the Crown corporation via Twitter.

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This is the second round of precautions being taken by the NSLC to uphold government requests to minimize public gatherings and proximity between people.

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Earlier this week, the corporation reduced its store hours to between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday to Saturday, with province-wide closures on Sundays.

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It made a special exception for seniors and customers at higher risk of contracting COVID-19, allowing them to do their shopping at 10 a.m., before general public access.

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The pressure on businesses to either close or adopt strict social distancing measures is mounting in Atlantic Canada, where the number of presumptive and confirmed COVID-19 cases has now reached 27.

Starting Thursday, liquor and cannabis stores on Prince Edward Island are shut down. Beginning Saturday, locations in Newfoundland and Labrador will close as well, but measures to allow phone and email orders will begin shortly, with restricted pickup locations.

READ MORE: Small businesses struggle as more are forced to close in response to COVID-19

Asked on Wednesday when Nova Scotia might follow suit in shuttering its own alcohol and cannabis stores, Premier Stephen McNeil said he’s not ruling it out.

“We will continue to analyze and assess those as we go along. It’s not a place where we would see large numbers that are showing up at them,” he explained.

“If we find that it is a public health issue in terms of spreading this virus, then we’ll take further steps.”

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