In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many non-essential businesses have shut down to slow the spread of the disease and maintain the physical distance laws set by the government. Liquor stores, however, currently fall in the category of businesses selling essential items, and have been ruled to remain open for service during operating hours.
Due to the increased volume in sales, salespersons at liquor stores are having to serve more customers than usual – a situation that is causing anxiety to many of the liquor store workers. Some have expressed concerns over customers who do not maintain the outlined physical distancing protocol, while others are indicating worries about not being provided with sufficient Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Certain staff (names withheld) at LCBO have proposed to shut down the smaller stores and have orders placed only at the door, as a measure to safeguard their health against the coronavirus pandemic.
Liquor store employees are currently working for only a little above the minimum wage, with many at LCBO working for about $16 per hour (which is about $6 less than the minimum wage in Toronto.
Stores in some provinces has seen an increase in sales (up to more than 40%), with customers making purchases in larger quantities, as a strategy to reduce the number of outside trips.