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Booze being rationed at BC Liquor Stores

Restrictions will apply to all products except for beer.
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Alcohol sales are being limited at BC Liquor Stores amidst the BCGEU strike.

All government-owned BC Liquor Stores will start limiting the quantity of alcohol that customers, restaurants and businesses can buy starting Friday morning.

The announcement comes from BC’s Alliance of Beverage Licensees (ABLE BC), which says the rationing will begin at 9 a.m.

ABLE BC says it has been informed by the province that it is rationing booze because of the BC General Employees’ Union (BCGEU) strike. 

“This is insane. The only reason BC Liquor Stores are rationing quantities is because of the BCGEU strike, which is shutting down B.C.’s vital liquor distribution warehouses,” says Jeff Guignard, executive director of ABLE BC. 

The public and business owners will be limited to purchasing no more than three of any individual items (or SKU) per day.

Restrictions will apply to all products, except beer, and will remain in place until the BC Liquor Distribution Branch distribution centres resume operations. 

“That the BCGEU strike continues to disrupt our entire industry is deeply frustrating to the pubs and restaurants still struggling to recover from the financial damage of the pandemic,” says Guignard, noting the restrictions will not affect private stores. 

“We will continue to serve our customers to the best of our ability, while supplies last,” said Guignard. 

The executive director urged both sides "to get back to the negotiation table immediately before this strike does further damage to B.C.’s economy.”

Ian Tostenson, president and CEO of the BC Restaurant and Foodservice Association, warned that everyone would run out of stock in an interview with Glacier Media earlier this week. 

“We generally carry maybe, at the most, a week of inventory in a restaurant. So, after four or five days, if this isn't resolved we'll start to feel the shortages in our inventory,” Tostenson said.

BCGEU represents about 33,000 provincial workers who started to strike on Monday. 

Union president Stephanie Smith has said wage protection is the top concern of her members as inflation climbs dramatically.

The contract between the BCGEU and the Public Service Agency expired April 1 and there have been sporadic talks since April 6, but the union rejected an invitation from the agency for another meeting last week, saying it would "not be fruitful."

With a file from Canadian Press