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Ottawa shoppers getting booze in Quebec as talks in LCBO strike resume

After nearly two weeks there’s movement on the LCBO strike. Contract negotiations have resumed between the LCBO and the union representing 9,000 workers who walked off the job 13 days ago.

This is the first time that talks are back on at the table since workers walked out. Premier Doug Ford says he’s optimistic about the development.

Shoppers, meanwhile, have noticed empty shelves in other stores.

“It’s been very tough,” said Shane Dunn, who was shopping at the Beer Store on Wednesday. “With the strike, I find myself going to different places like the Beer Store and Loblaws and even they’re sold out as well. Pretty much of everything: beer, cider, and wine.”

Shoppers have been making the trip to pick up beer, wine and some liquor in Quebec.

“I’m using a bunch of gas mileage getting to Gatineau and whatnot,” said Dunn.

In a statement to CTV News, the Beer Store did not comment on the supply shortages, but says many outlets have extended summer hours and some stores may extend further on a case by case basis.

Wine Rack stores are seeing a spike in sales, with product seen stacked outside a location in Toronto.

“Wine Rack stores have seen a significant increase in traffic and demand over the past week, achieving strong sales across Ontario. To respond to this increased demand, the Wine Rack has enlisted more hands on deck to support around the clock and replenish inventory as needed to ensure customer needs are met in all 164 stores,” a statement from the Wine Rack’s Mark Wasserman said.

A new Leger poll finds that 32 per cent of customers have sought alternative locations to purchase alcohol, 49 per cent support the union’s goals — including wage increases and more permanent positions — and only 29 per cent think that the government of Ontario should intervene in the strike.

Meanwhile, the Ontario government is speeding up its alcohol expansion plans, announcing licensed grocery stores will be able to start selling ready-to-drink beverages as of July 18, one of the sticking points at the bargaining table.

The union says Wednesday was a full day of bargaining and it’s expected that talks will go late into the evening.

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