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Customers flock to liquor stores, clear shelves over fears of COVID-19

Last Updated Mar 18, 2020 at 9:48 pm PDT

Summary

Liquor stores are seeing flocks of customers rushing in to stock up on alcohol during the pandemic

Some stores are reporting crowds that are usually seen during Christmas or New Year's and sales have shot up

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Toilet paper and canned foods have been flying off the shelves in grocery stores.

Now, liquor stores are experiencing large crowds as well.

Tom Weber is the General Manager with the Burrard Liquor Store and says he knew the coronavirus would impact business, he just wasn’t sure how.

“We knew it was either going to be very quiet, or exponentially huge for sales,” he says. “The last two days have been nearly on par with our Boxing Day, Christmas period for sure or even like New Year’s. It’s been four or five times the regular sales.”

Many customers tell Weber they’re stocking up for the worst case scenario, in case there is a complete city-shut down because of Covid-19.

“That’s what people have been worried about,┬ájust to be able to sit back,” Weber says. “If they’re in if they’re at home or sort of isolated, at least they’ve got a beer that they can you know, watch Netflix or kick back and enjoy the finer things you may have seen online.”

Weber says while his store hasn’t run out of items like gin, there has been a large demand for anything made locally.

“Red and white wines definitely picked up a little bit,” he says. “And the craft beers. It’s good to say that people still support supporting the local industries, breweries and wineries.”

Photos taken inside of B.C. liquor store in Vancouver this week show rows of empty shelves, but the B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch says supply levels are fine and stores will remain open.