Prince Edward Island required its four licensed cannabis retail locations to take protective measures when they reopened May 22, but wearing masks was reportedly not among them.
Beyond allowing only “limited access,” namely restricting the number of location occupants, mandatory measures in PEI Cannabis stores included having physical distancing both inside and outside stores, general screening regarding compliance with self-isolation demands prior to entry into the businesses, and no cash transactions for the time being.
“Government offices that are re-opening to the public today have put protocols in place to ensure public health measures such as physical distancing is maintained to keep staff and Islanders safe,” notes a government statement issued Friday, adding that “wait times for some services are a little longer than usual.”
The no-mask rule is thought to apply to staff and customers alike, according to Marijuana Business Daily. Consumers wearing the masks will be asked to remove them before entering the stores, the publication reports.
This runs contrary to the latest recommendations from federal public health officials who hae made masks a recommended measure in certain situations.
Family physician Dr. Jennifer Kwan recently told CBC News she believes wearing masks is a good idea while in indoor public places (including stores), when in crowds or whenever using public transit. “I think that any business owner who cares about the health and safety of their employees would definitely use masks as one of the strategies to prevent an outbreak,” she said.
The PEI reopening is part of Phase 2 of the Renew PEI, Together plan, according to the provincial government. While Phase 1 included a number of government health, education and inspections services and programs, as well as golf courses, which opened May 1, Phase 2 widened access to both cannabis and alcohol retail.
Online sales were available throughout the COVID-19 crisis, but May 22 was the first chance for cannabis consumers on the Island to have a brick-and-mortar experience in about two months.
Some provinces have kept cannabis retail open over the course of pandemic, deeming them essential services. However, others have limited access to online only. After initially deeming cannabis retail not to be an essential service in Ontario, delivery and curbside pick-up were made available for several weeks and the emergency order for this was extended in mid-May.
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