Charlie Bredo, co-founder of Red Deer’s Troubled Monk Brewery and Taproom, says the business will be closed on Christmas Day, despite changes in provincial regulations. File photo

Liquor and pot stores allowed to open Christmas Day

Liquor and cannabis retailers have received permission from the government to stay open on Christmas Day.

The change in policy also applies to establishments such as bars and taprooms.

Red Deer’s Troubled Monk Brewery and Taproom co-founder Charlie Bredo said his business will be closed on Christmas Day, so staff can have the day off.

“If people are keen to work on those types of days, I’m OK being open, but I would hate to push people to work on special holidays like that,” he said Tuesday.

“We need to be respectful of people’s work-life balance.”

It’s unclear which businesses in the Red Deer area will be open Dec. 25.

The Fire & Flower Cannabis store in Red Deer will be closed on the holiday, confirmed Nathan Mison, vice-president of government and stakeholder relations with the company.

If the announcement, which came Monday, had come sooner, the company would’ve considered keeping some stores in Alberta open.

“But the fact that it’s a very short time frame and people have already made their Christmas plans, we want to make sure everybody takes the day,” Mison added.

Matt Panelli, co-owner of Lacombe cannabis retailer Merry Guanas, said the outlet won’t be open on Christmas Day.

“I think it’s a reasonable move,” said Panelli of the policy change.

“I think it comes down to personal choice. It’s for retailers to decide for their own personal situation, whether it makes sense for them to open.”

It’s a matter of convenience for last-minute shoppers, added Panelli, adding he isn’t sure what the demand would be like for cannabis on Christmas Day.

“I can see in the alcohol industry, there is significant demand, but with the way society is, people are still more likely to consume alcohol at a family function than they are cannabis.”

Heather Holmen, a spokeswoman for Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis, said the agency has been eyeing a change in policy for a while now.

“We’ve certainly had requests to see if it’s permissible. It was something on our radar,” said Holmen.

Holmen said there would be labour considerations that each business will have to look at in making their decision.

“It’s not mandated that they open. It’s completely optional, and those who have been asking for this will see this as an opportunity to have their doors open,” Holmen explained.

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