govt street liqour store

Selling booze just isn’t an essential service, says the owner of the Government Street Liquor Store, who is voluntarily closing his doors to help fight the COVID-19 outbreak.  

Jeff Leonard said shuttering the business was a “tough decision” he and his staff grappled with over the past week.

“This is the right thing to do,” he said in an interview. “The health in society is much greater than the health of a bank account.”

Leonard had been running the family owned store with tight social distancing practices, such as allowing only four people into the shop at a time, not accepting cash, wearing gloves and wiping down all machines in between uses.

But some customers, he said, weren’t keeping their distance from others.

“It was a struggle to get people to understand that, unfortunately,” said Leonard. “So the easiest thing to do was just shut down and stop it where we can, right?

As of Monday, the B.C. government had only mandated restaurants, bars and personal-care businesses to close as result of the health crisis.

Leonard believes it was “a big relief” for employees when the decision was made to shut down.

“It’s going to hurt us in the long run,” he added, but “we’ll just come back with zero in the bank and start all over again.”

Leonard intends to take advantage of the closure by sprucing up the 10-year-old store.