Cannabis retailers in the Toronto and Peel regions will have to shut their doors before midnight Monday, when a lockdown to slow a worrying spike in coronavirus cases goes into effect.
However, stores in the affected area will be allowed to resume emergency curbside pickup and delivery services.
The new measures were announced by Ontario Premier Doug Ford in a statement Friday.
“With the numbers rising rapidly in certain regions, we have to make the tough, but necessary decisions now to protect our hospitals, long-term care and retirement homes, and every person in this province,” he said. “We cannot afford a province-wide lockdown, so we are taking preventative action today by moving Toronto and Peel into lockdown level restrictions and other regions into higher levels of restrictions. We need to take decisive action to stop the spread of this deadly virus.”
Following information that leaked to the industry earlier in the day, Ivana Yelich, director of media Relations at the Ontario premier’s office, first confirmed with Mugglehead that both curbside pickup and delivery would be allowed — allaying fears that delivery wouldn’t be.
“Cannabis is permitted by curb-side pick-up,” said Ivana Yelich, director of media Relations at the Ontario premier’s office. “Sorry, and delivery!” she said in an email shortly afterwards. The measures will only apply to retailers in the affected areas.
When Ontario stores were first ordered to close as part of lockdown measures in April, an outcry from businesses led to the province temporarily opening up curbside pickup and delivery service to private retailers. Previously only the Ontario Cannabis Store was allowed delivery.
But on July 23, the province revoked the emergency measures, which led to more outcry and confusion from business owners. The services allowed stores to better compete with the illicit market, for which the delivery business is booming; allowing customers out-of-store options made for safer social distancing; and restricting stores seemed to run contrary to Premier Ford’s promise of an open market.
This time around, businesses outside the areas affected by the new measures are confused why they shouldn’t also be allowed to provide the services to dampen the spread of Covid.
In a statement late in the day, the AGCO confirmed the changes and said it “will be providing additional information and guidance for cannabis retail store operators later this weekend, before these measures come into effect on Monday.”
Top image via Spirtleaf