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LCBO customers, businesses in Waterloo Region stock up ahead of possible strike

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Customers and businesses in Waterloo Region are stocking up on booze ahead of a possible LCBO strike.

Unionized workers will be in a legal strike position as of 12:01 a.m. on July 5.

A sign outside the LCBO in Uptown Waterloo shows store hours have been extended starting Thursday, giving customers more time to shop. Like other locations across the province, the Uptown store will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. until July 4.

Some customers said they were unaware of the looming strike until our CTV News reporter asked them to comment on this story.

“I would have [bought more],” one shopper said. “I’ll have to go back later on.”

The LCBO, meanwhile, is recommending people plan ahead.

In an email to CTV News Kitchener, a spokesperson said: “We expect to see an increase in sales, in what is already a busy period as customers prepare for the Canada Day long weekend.”

Customer Jerry Finnen is preparing for a potential strike. He walked out of the Waterloo store Tuesday with a few bottles of gin, although he admits they won’t last long.

“Well, it’ll have to be a short strike,” he said, laughing.

Restaurants are also stocking up.

Moose Winooski's in Kitchener, Ont. on June 25, 2024. (Spencer Turcotte/CTV News)

Moose Winooski’s in Kitchener has already tweaked their usual order.

“You know, just getting a date down,” explained Laynee Belzil, the operations manager at the restaurant. “Obviously ordering a little bite more than we’d typically be ordering.”

But if a strike lasts longer than expected, Moose Winooski’s will be ready.

“We have a huge draft beer selection. The Beer Store is going to be going strong for us,” Belzil said.

Some customers who spoke with CTV News Kitchener are in support of the possible strike.

“Unionized workers have a right to go on strike. I agree with them negotiating,” one person said.

“I am usually on the side of workers’ rights so if people feel like they need better wages to do the work that they want to do, then that seems like a reasonable ask,” said another.

Some people, however, aren’t fazed by a possible LCBO closure.

“I’m a young mom right now. Drinking makes me too tired,” said one woman.

Others anticipate some anger.

“Ticked off. People are going to be swearing. I can see people screaming,” another shopper said.

Most agree that a ‘dry summer’ could have a different meaning altogether this year.

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