LCBO scraps plan to open five stores for bar and restaurant owners

By Meredith Bond

LCBO management has scrapped the plan to open five stores across the province on an appointment basis for bar and restaurant owners on July 10.

In a statement, the LCBO said that in light of threats by the Ontario Public Service Employees Union’s (OPSEU) threat to picket the locations, they have decided instead to offer an alternative online experience for smaller orders.

Details are expected to be shared directly with those licensees.

“Our priority is to help ensure that our products remain accessible to our customers. We regret the impact of OPSEU’s strike on small local businesses trying to shop with us,” read the statement.

It comes the same day the provincial government released an interactive map that includes details on where else people can shop for beer wine and cider.

It includes more than 1,000 local Ontario breweries, wineries, wine shops, distilleries, and other vendors such as LCBO Convenience Outlets, The Beer Store, and licenced grocery stores.

Thousands of workers at the LCBO went on strike last Friday, the first such labour disruption in the retailer’s history. Months of contract negotiations between their union and management failed to result in a new deal.

The major sticking point, according to the union, was the lack of job security as the province plans to open up the alcohol market to allow convenience stores and all grocery stores to sell beer, wine and ready-to-drink cocktails.

LCBO’s retail locations are closed for 14 days, but online ordering will be available with free home delivery, though product limits apply. If the strike continues after two weeks, the LCBO plans to open 32 locations three days a week with limited hours.

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