Cannabis, booze and dry cleaning all classed as essential services in B.C. - InfoNews

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Cannabis, booze and dry cleaning all classed as essential services in B.C.

March 28, 2020 - 11:31 AM

It's obvious that doctors, nurses, and the people at B.C. Hydro that keep the lights on, would be considered "essential services," but taking a look at the provincial government's list of what is and what isn't essential may surprise some.

While grocery stores and pharmacies fit the list well, liquor and cannabis stores are also both classed as essential services. And while it makes sense that someone might want a glass of wine or a quick toke in these stressful times, pawnbrokers and dry cleaners also make the list of essential services in B.C. This list also includes home supply stores, farmer's markets, pet supply stores and more. Medicinal cannabis is also listed as essential under a "vulnerable population service providers" section.

Last week, B.C. Liquor Stores around the province announced they will be reducing business hours, to ensure staff have time to complete additional cleaning and help stem the spread of the COVID-19 virus. B.C. Liquor Stores will also be closed on Sundays, according to the government website.

When Ontario mandated all non-essential businesses must close, many in B.C. called on the provincial government to follow suit, and create an order forcing non-essential businesses to close.

However, Ontario doesn't appear to be under any tighter restrictions than B.C. as its exhaustive list of essential services appears to include, well, a lot of jobs. From construction workers to pest exterminators and translators, the list includes a couple of hundred occupations.

Quebec's list is much the same when it comes to keeping liquor and cannabis stores open, but the list is more condensed and the province has halted construction only allowing emergency construction and to maintain vital infrastructure.

Some provinces have also changed what they considered essential services to be.

P.E.I. did a U-turn on what it considers an essential service reopening liquor stores days after forcing them to close following public pressure.

According to media reports, Alberta is set to compile a list of what it considers essentially services in the next few days.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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