• As public spaces close across Quebec and residents confine themselves to their homes, the SAQ is putting in place new measures to protect customers and employees.
  • The Crown supplier of wine and spirits will keep its stores open, however.

Public spaces across Quebec are closing down but some essential services will continue to operate. The SAQ announced Tuesday in an email that its stores would stay open but that it's taking steps to protect customers and employees from the spread of coronavirus. "Rest assured that we all stand together and that all of our branches have put in place strict prevention measures to ensure that our teams can continue to serve you safely," the email reads.

First and foremost, the SAQ asks that "if you are in a situation of preventive isolation or are experiencing flu-like symptoms, please do not go to the store and make your purchases in SAQ.com or on the mobile application instead."

"We will do our utmost to ensure reasonable delivery times under the circumstances."

Employees will also have to follow "rigorous" new measures, including:

  • Regularly cleaning "cash counters, customer screens, terminals, telephones, payment terminals, customer baskets and other surfaces;"

  • Making "sure that the traffic allows you to maintain a safe distance from other people at all times;"

  • "[Avoiding] touching customers' payment cards, Inspire cards or telephones;"

  • and "[inviting] customers to pay by card (debit, credit) in order to limit the handling of money as much as possible."

The company will also limit in-car service. It previously ceased in-store tastings.

It further warns that these measures could lead to longer wait times and force "us to temporarily restrict access to the branch if the traffic does not allow us to meet the standards of social distancing."

"In order for you to continue to shop with confidence, it is imperative that each and every one of us, employees and customers alike, adhere to public health guidelines."

"Together, let's continue to support each other. It is by working together and taking collective responsibility that we can act for the good of all," the email concludes.

Unlike its sister cannabis retailer, the SQDC, the SAQ has not reported an increase in sales amid rampant panic-buying since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak in Quebec.

Quebec health officials released guidelines for individuals to follow to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in the province. You can read about them here.

More information on hygiene practices during the pandemic is available on the government of Canada's website here.

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