Ontario cannabis stores start reopening; delivery and curbside pickup extended

An emergency provision temporarily allowing privately owned cannabis stores in Ontario to offer home delivery and curbside pickup has again been extended  by the provincial government, and retailers are now allowed to open their doors under certain stipulations.

The emergency order – set to expire May 19 – was extended to May 29.

Licensed cannabis stores in the province may continue to:

  • Offer curbside pickup seven days a week, from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. local time.
  • Offer home cannabis deliveries seven days a week, from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. local time.

When stores may reopen

As part of the province’s plan to reopen the economy in stages amid the COVID-19 pandemic, cannabis stores are among the businesses allowed to open to foot traffic starting May 19 – under certain conditions.

The first stage of Ontario’s reopening includes retail services “that are not in shopping malls and have separate street-front entrances with measures in place that can enable physical distancing, such as limiting the number of customers in the store at any one time and booking appointments beforehand or on the spot,” according to the province’s announcement.

Cannabis stores have been closed since April 4.

The Hunny Pot spokesman Cameron Brown said the company is taking a cautious approach, opening three stores under a “hybrid” model.

“It’s more of curbside pickup inside the reception area,” he said. “We’re making sure everything is done safely, making sure staff and customers feel safe.”

Canvas also said it opened both of its locations to customers.

The store is restricting the number of people allowed inside at one time to ensure physical distancing requirements are met.

When construction may resume

Effective May 19, Ontario lifted essential workplace limits on construction, meaning work may resume on cannabis store build-outs that began before April 4.

The province had ordered a halt to nonessential construction as part of its new coronavirus measures, forcing many stores to postpone store build-outs.

Farrell Miller, head of compliance for Erbn Green, said lifting the building ban will allow the cannabis retailer to “to move full speed ahead” on completing the build-out of its flagship store in downtown Toronto.

Curbside payment

Last week, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) started allowing stores to accept payment at the time of the curbside pick up.

The AGCO said licensees must comply with government directives on social distancing:

“The AGCO encourages licensees to continue practicing physical distancing and to make efforts to promote a safe distance between customers in curbside lineups and safe transactions during curbside payments.”

Matt Lamers is Marijuana Business Daily’s international editor, based near Toronto. He can be reached at mattl@mjbizdaily.com.

For more of Marijuana Business Daily’s ongoing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic and its effects on the cannabis industry, click here.