High Tide Inc. (CSE:HITI) has temporarily laid off staff at its three Ontario stores in response to the province removing cannabis retailers from its list of essential workplaces on Friday.
The Calgary-based company said Monday its Canna Cabana locations in Hamilton, Sudbury and Toronto were closed Saturday, April 4, before midnight for a 14-day period following the provincial government’s removal of recreational weed as an essential service.
High Tide said its 27 other locations in Alberta and Saskatchewan will remain open for the time being, and will provide updates on those stores and any policy changes in Ontario.
Before BNN says they have “BREAKING” news … there is a cannabis retail call taking place right now with the government of Ontario that will allow curb side pickups… Announcement will likely happen in the next few days. #PotStocks
— Betting Bruiser (@BettingBruiser) April 6, 2020
CEO Raj Grover said High Tide is considering all strategies to survive financial hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, including additional cuts to operations.
“To mitigate the economic headwinds being caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we are optimizing staffing levels across the organization, working with landlords to abate or defer rent, minimizing operating expenses and delaying capital expenditures wherever possible,” Grover said in a statement.
Despite the Ontario closures, High Tide said its cannabis accessories e-commerce portal, Grasscity.com, has seen a recent doubling of average weekly sales. It said the increase was likely due to more people using cannabis at home during public lockdowns.
Last month, the company told Mugglehead it’s important for medical cannabis patients to have access to the weed they need while social distancing is being enforced. But High Tide said it’s also important for recreational users to have continued cannabis access to “live their best lives” during this challenging time.
Read more: Canadian retailers applaud provinces for calling cannabis ‘essential’
The retailer said it has continued practicing heightened health and safety measures at its Canna Cabana stores that remain open.
The company also reported it’s still on track to launch CBDCity.com by mid-April, which will target CBD consumers in the U.S. and Europe.
Although it reported having only $806K in cash reserves left at the end of 2019, High Tide said it will be able to weather future economic storms due to recent funding moves.
In January, High Tide secured a $10 million loan with Windsor Capital. One month later, the company said it entered a deal to sell its five KushBar retail cannabis assets to U.S. operator Halo Labs Inc. (NEO: HALO) for $12 Million.
Top image of Canna Cabana Toronto cannabis store operating last summer by Hector Vasquez