While British Columbia has seen a 40 per cent increase in liquor sales amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, its neighbour, Alberta, hasn’t come close.
Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC) said in an email to Global News that while it doesn’t receive sales data from retailers, it hasn’t seen much of a change in wholesale liquor or cannabis orders compared to previous years.
Alberta Liquor Store Association president Ivonne Martinez said stores initially saw an increase, but it tapered off.
“Right around when rumours were going around (liquor stores might close), schools were starting to close, we saw a spike then,” Martinez said.
“Aside from that, it’s been pretty much business as usual.”
Some stores, though, are experiencing more business because other places have cut hours or closed. Plantlife Cannabis is seeing an increase in its weed sales.
“They have risen dramatically,” Plantlife Cannabis operations manager Tyler Steiger said.
Plantlife has tape on the floors to show customers where to stand in line with social-distancing measures, and staff wear gloves and clean surfaces constantly. The company’s stores no longer accept cash.
In Ontario, cannabis stores were initially defined as essential businesses but were cut from that list last week. Alcohol sales were allowed to continue.
In Alberta, it’s expected sales will remain steady throughout the pandemic if stores can remain open. However, many businesses are prepared if the Alberta government makes a change to liquor and cannabis stores’ essential service status.
Cannabis stores have the option to sell their products online, while liquor stores offer deliveries.