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NWT starts allowing liquor home delivery services

Last modified: May 8, 2020 at 6:07pm


Liquor can now be delivered by licensed restaurants and bars to your home, the NWT government announced on Friday.

Caroline Wawzonek, the finance minister, had earlier said she was considering the move. She said delivery would keep more people at home and, if done right, would “encourage responsible consumption” during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Amended liquor regulations introduced on Friday allow licensed establishments to sell beer, wine, and spirits for takeout and delivery without the need for any additional permission.

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Till now, home delivery of liquor had been prohibited.

“These amendments are intended to help restaurants and bars remain in business and keep staff employed, while encouraging physical distancing during the pandemic,” said the territorial government in a statement.

The changes come with a range of restrictions.

Restaurants that hold class B licences, known as “food primary” licences, can only sell liquor in combination with food.

Delivery services must be in-house – establishments can’t use third parties or taxis to deliver liquor.

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There can be no delivery of liquor on Sundays, and not after 10pm on any night.

And there is a daily limit on what you can order from any given establishment:

  • 1.5 litres of wine (two regular bottles); or
  • 8.52 litres of beer (24 355-ml cans); or
  • 1.14 litres of spirits (a 40-oz bottle).

Mark Henry, co-owner of Yellowknife’s Copperhouse restaurant, said his business was “100 percent” interested in offering the service.

“We got the notification today and we are working on our processes,” he told Cabin Radio. “We were looking at delivery services for food and now, with this that, will increase the motivation to get into delivery as well.”

Henry said the amended regulations were “a positive move in terms of supporting businesses [and] we definitely appreciate the action on it.”

Henry said Copperhouse was only notified on Friday and would have some form of delivery available as soon as it could.

At the Woodyard brewpub, a staff member welcomed the news and said the owners would study the logistics needed to begin a delivery service. If one goes ahead, it won’t be until at least the week after next.

Ed But, owner of Coyote’s Bistro, noted delivery would fill a hole left by the early closure of liquor stores under their amended pandemic hours.

“People are eating and they want to drink at home, right?” said But.

Emily Blake contributed reporting.

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