The number of cases of COVID-19 has spiked in the province of Ontario causing new lockdown orders. It was reported that more than 1,400 new coronavirus cases had been recorded in Ontario on Friday. Toronto has been the hot zone for the latest outbreak as the city broke its record for new infections on Tuesday and has reported several hundred new cases each day this week.
On Friday, November 20, 2020, Attorney General Doug Downey approved an emergency order placing the Toronto and Peel regions under a new lockdown to combat COVID-19. On Sunday, Ontario Regulation 654/20 was made allowing cannabis retail stores located in the lockdown regions to operate through e-commerce, curbside pickup, and home delivery services causing cannabis stores to once again pivot to online orders.
High Tide Inc. (OTCQB: HITIF) announced that it is fully compliant with the order issued by the Province of Ontario to place Toronto and Peel under lockdown. The company noted that in Toronto, the affected locations have been adjusted to offer only curbside pickup with delivery services to follow shortly thereafter for the announced 28-day period. High Tide currently operates 60 other retail cannabis stores across Canada and it does not have any locations in the Peel Region.
“Throughout the pandemic, we have remained agile in our operations to prioritize the needs of our customers across the country in a safe and compliant manner. Our curbside pickup services available at CannaCabana.com and MetaCannabis.com will continue to provide our Toronto-based customers with access to our full catalog of cannabis products throughout the 28-day lockdown,” said Raj Grover, President and Chief Executive Officer of High Tide. “As a diversified cannabis company with 66 retail locations in four provinces, a robust e-commerce portfolio and extensive operations in the US and abroad, we expect the lockdown to minimally impact our business. We will continue to optimize our business and are taking appropriate action to manage our operating costs accordingly,” added Mr. Grover.
Fire & Flower
Fire & Flower Holdings Corp. (OTC: FFLWF)has said that its stores will once again offer free home delivery and curbside pick-up to safely and responsibly service its customers during the newly-mandated Toronto and Peel region lockdown in the Province of Ontario. “We applaud Attorney General Doug Downey for the practical solution of allowing provincially-licensed cannabis retailers the same e-commerce abilities of delivery and curbside pick-up that all other retailers have during this period of lockdown,” said Trevor Fencott, Chief Executive Officer, Fire & Flower. “This act allows us to safely provide service to our customers and continue to combat the burgeoning illegal market during these challenging times.”
“As the legal industry steps up for the second time and invests in safe delivery for our customers, we hope the Provincial government will recognize that the Ontario Cannabis Store’s monopoly on delivery is an unnecessary burden on public health, taxpayers, customers and economic growth in the Province” continued Fencott. “Lockdowns will eventually end, but the road to economic recovery for private business will be difficult and the large illegal market will continue unchallenged unless the government makes these changes permanent. Our customers expect e-commerce and delivery options from every other kind of retailer in the Province, and deserve to receive equitable treatment for licensed cannabis retailers.”