COVID-19: Central Albertans were buying more liquor, cannabis during lockdown

Albertans have been encouraged to stay at home the past few months to prevent the spread of COVID-19. And they did – likely with a can of beer or a joint in their hand.

On Friday, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer of health, said the Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis agency has reported sharp increases in the sales of alcohol and cannabis since public health measures were put in place.

“What we’ve seen through survey data is Canadians indicating that many (alcohol users) had been drinking more frequently during the pandemic, and with sales numbers from AGLC indicating increases in sales during the last few months during the shutdown,” she said Monday.

On Tuesday, AGLC spokesperson Heather Holmen said the agency doesn’t know if there is a correlation between consumption and the pandemic, as this is the time of the year where there is generally an increase in sales due to the warmer weather.

“That said, I can’t rule it out either, but without audited data, we don’t have the full insight.”

Sales at Ace Liquor in Red Deer have been slightly higher compared to last year, said store manager Navtej Singh.

That could be due to the lockdown since March, he said.

“It did effect sales a little bit,” he said.

There were a few days in March when people were panic buying at Ace, to stock up in case everything shut down, just as some people were doing with toilet paper, he said.

Sales in March were a mix of everything – from spirits, to wine…

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