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B.C. allows longer liquor-store hours to help seniors follow social-distancing

A half-empty beer fridge is seen at the BC Liquor Store on Commercial Drive in Vancouver.
A half-empty beer fridge is seen at the BC Liquor Store on Commercial Drive in Vancouver. Simon Little / Global News

Liquor stores in B.C. are now allowed to stay open longer to provide more opportunities to practice physical-distancing under the COVID-19 pandemic.

The government is suggesting the earlier hours could be used for seniors at private liquor stores but it is at their discretion.

Government liquor stores will not be putting in seniors-only hours.

The new policies are in effect until July 15. Liquor retailers are not required to change hours if they were previously reduced.

READ MORE: Liquor stores across B.C. see record sales during coronavirus pandemic

“These time-limited measures should provide seniors and immunocompromised populations the opportunity to buy liquor during early shopping hours already being provided by other retailers, such as grocery stores,” a news release reads.

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The temporary rules allow delivery services to purchase liquor products on behalf of a customer from a liquor store, or any licensee authorized to sell in unopened containers, and deliver and sell that liquor during these same hours.

B.C. officials to crackdown on panic buying at local liquor and grocery stores
B.C. officials to crackdown on panic buying at local liquor and grocery stores

The changes come as B.C.’s beverage alcohol producers launch a buy-local campaign called Time to Buy British Columbia!

The initiative represents the alcohol sector, but could expand to other businesses that locate their activities, management jobs and workers’ jobs in B.C.

“As alcohol producers, we employ thousands of British Columbians and we are now challenged with workforce layoffs or, for some, even closures,” said Ken Beattie, executive director for the B.C. Craft Brewers Guild.

READ MORE: Why liquor stores are an essential service amid the coronavirus pandemic

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“When B.C. emerges from the pandemic, British Columbians will want to return to normal lives, and we will want to rehire them and to rebuild business.”