(BC Liquor Store)

BC Liquor Stores have announced today that they will remain open, and taking extra steps to battle the current coronavirus pandemic.

The government liquor stores have stated that they will continue operation in order to keep serving British Columbians, while still ensuring the safety of the most vulnerable employees and customers during amid COVID-19 concerns.

They also will be adjusting hours of operation, partly so that staff are able to complete additional store cleaning in the off hours to help curb the spread of the virus, and ask customers to contact individual stores directly for their specific hours.

To help comply with self-distancing guidelines outlined by the provincial health officer and the Ministry of Health, the number of customers permitted in stores will also be limited where required.

BCLS has also noted that there is no shortage of beer, wine and spirits in the province – although an increase in sales and customers has led to challenges in keeping shelves fully stocked.

The government liquor stores continue to explore additional temporary measures to support the hospitality industry, and new opportunities will be communicated with the public as they become available.

See all the latest updates about the global COVID-19 pandemic on Vancouver Island

There are currently 22 known cases of COVID-19 on Vancouver Island, out of 271 positive cases in British Columbia.

The federal government recently announced an $82 billion assistance package for Canadians and businesses struggling financially during the global pandemic.

Earlier this week, B.C. joined Alberta and Ontario in declaring a public health emergency in order to curb the spread of COVID-19.

On Wednesday, B.C. Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth declared a provincial state of emergency to support the health ministry’s public health emergency.

The provincial government also announced the indefinite suspension of all in-person classes at K-12 schools in B.C.

Canada has tightened its borders and is denying entry to people who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents in Canada.

U.S. citizens are no longer an exception to this rule, and non-essential travel between U.S. and Canada will be temporarily banned by March 21st. Moreover international flights have been restricted to international airports in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and Calgary.

The BCCDC has set up a 2019 novel coronavirus telephone information line at 1-833-784-4397 for those who have further questions about this disease.

Anyone concerned that they may have been exposed to, or are experiencing symptoms of the novel coronavirus, should contact their primary care provider, local public health office, or call 8-1-1.

The Province has also created the 1-888-COVID-19  line to connect British Columbians needing non-medical information about the coronavirus pandemic.

As of the time of publication, the total number of COVID-19 patients worldwide has risen to 271,598.

Nearly 11,300 people have died from the illness and 90,605 have made a full recovery.

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