Online alcohol sales going smoothly, stores say

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Oamaru liquor store owners say people are being responsible about purchasing alcohol online as the Covid-19 Level 4 lockdown continues.

Since last week both of Oamaru’s liquor stores — Oamaru Licensing Trust-owned Liquorland Oamaru and Super Liquor — have been taking orders for alcohol via email and telephone, which are then delivered.

Oamaru Licensing Trust general manager Cathy Maaka said when the lockdown was announced, there was initially some confusion as to whether liquor stores were classed as an essential service.

Liquor outlets other than supermarkets have had to physically close, but licensing trust outlets were deemed essential.

The trust opted to keep its doors closed and instead take orders online, which Mrs Maaka said was a “nice compromise”.

“The Government said licensing trusts could open their bottle stores … then the wording got very loose and confused. We are fielding several phone calls from people saying ‘you’re a licensing trust, you should be open’.”

An “awful lot of thought and preparation” went into the move, which she said people had been grateful for.

The amount of alcohol — beer, wine, cider, RTDs and spirits — that could be ordered in one transaction was restricted, and the purchaser’s ID had to be sighted by the delivery person on arrival.

If an ID was unable to be provided, then the transaction would be refunded.

Mrs Maaka said people were being responsible and hoped that would continue.

Super Liquor Oamaru owner Alan Sandri said shared a similar view.

“Certainly we have not noticed any abuse … I think everybody is playing by the rules. We have not seen it as an issue.”

Sergeant Blair Wilkinson, of Oamaru, declined to comment when asked if police were concerned the practice may lead to more family harm incidents.

However, police were aware of it and expected retailers to adhere to regulations.

“They are acting within the rules and obviously as a licensed premises they have got a responsibility around making sure they are complying with the Liquor Licensing Act.”

Otago Daily Times