PEI Is a Mess Over Coronavirus Liquor Store Closures

PEI's chief public health officer told Islanders she was 'disappointed' in their response to liquor stores being closed.
March 19, 2020, 5:12pm
liquor pei
Photo provided by Ian Cameron.

In an attempt to slow the spread of coronavirus and force people to stay inside, Prince Edward Island decided to close their liquor and weed stores. However, this obviously backfired as it just led to people joining massive queues to stockpile booze.

Canada's smallest province’s chief public health officer, Dr. Heather Morrison, chastised Islanders for their liquor runs.

"I have to say I'm disappointed in Islanders' response in the last three hours,” Morrison said on Wednesday evening. “We have talked about social distancing. We have talked about the importance of staying home unless it’s essential.”

“That appears to have been ignored.”

The province announced the measures on Wednesday and left Islanders with less than 24 hours to stock up on booze and weed. All 17 publicly owned liquor stores will close at 2 p.m. Atlantic time and will make Prince Edward Island the first province to close liquor stores in the face of the pandemic.

Privately owned liquor stores and breweries, of which there are more than a handful on the Island, will be allowed to remain open.

At the press conference, Morrison, was asked how these closures will affect those with alcohol addiction.

“It’s a balancing act, but we know alcohol is not considered an essential service at this time,” said Morrisson, who added that’s why the stores were not closed immediately.

Prince Edward Island Liquor Control Commission, a Crown corporation, regulates the sale of booze on the Island. The province has asked all non-essential businesses to close, which include malls, pools, gyms, hairdressers, and nail salons.

The province has said they’re actively looking for other ways for islanders to get their hands on some booze but have yet to make any announcement.

P.E.I., population roughly 150,000, currently only has one confirmed case of COVID-19 and are waiting on the results of nearly 100 tests still being examined out of province.

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