The Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) says one of its workers at a Toronto store location has tested positive for COVID, marking the first publicly confirmed case at the chain since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
The agency confirmed the news on Friday and said the employee worked at the location at Allen and Rimrock roads, north of Sheppard Avenue West. The individual last worked at the store on March 20.
“The employee is currently resting at home and we wish them a full and speedy recovery,” the statement said.
“As a precautionary measure, this retail location will be closed to the public while deep cleaning takes place.”
LCBO officials said the agency is working with public health officials to see who had contact with the worker and who might need to take further precautions such as self-isolation.
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Across the province, many LCBO stores remain open as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. There have been questions about long lines at outlets amid calls for social and physical distancing as well as whether it is considered an essential service.
However, experts and medical officials have backed the decision to keep the stores open. For example, they cited those who have a dependency on alcohol.
“Alcohol dependency can be psychologically and physiologically. If the supply is cut off for that population of people, it can be potentially catastrophic,” Elaine Hyshka, a researcher and assistant professor with the School of Public Health at the University of Alberta, previously said.
“Not everyone with alcohol use disorder who abstains from drinking will experience medical complications, but for the smaller proportion that does, it can be life-threatening.”
Meanwhile, the LCBO said it is working with OPSEU — the union that represents store employees — to ensure workers “are given information and the support they need moving forward.”
The statement also cited several increased measures taken in response to COVID-19, such as increased cleaning, new human resources policies to support all employees and measures that support physical distancing.
As of Friday evening, the Ontario government said there were 967 active cases of COVID-19 in the province. In total, 18 Ontario residents have died and eight cases have been deemed resolved.
— With files from Rachael D’Amore
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