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It's still possible to get a cocktail, a book and a burger in the BC capital, but it's going to take a few more steps than usual
Last week, The Capital published a comprehensive guide to what was closed in the Capital Region as a result of COVID-19. In the days since, an ever-escalating wave of preventive shutdowns has meant that being closed is now the default state for Greater Victoria’s shops and restaurants. In the interest of expediency, The Capital now presents this guide to what’s still open. We will update throughout the week.
Grocery and drug stores throughout Victoria remain operational and well-stocked, but check ahead for diminished hours. In addition to better cleaning protocols, many have implemented additional measures to prevent viral transmission. Wal-Mart has outfitted its Uptown store with tape guides to demarcate proper social distancing for customers. Pepper’s Foods has installed special plexiglas screens at checkouts to shield clerks from customers. The following stores have also implemented special opening hours for seniors and other vulnerable groups:
Fol Epi. This local organic bakery and patisserie has kept both its locations open as a window service with reduced hours. Workers in the service industry, as well as medical and healthcare workers, receive a 20% discount.
It’s still possible to enjoy the outdoor patio at the Harbour Road location of Caffe Fantastico due to its immense social distancing-friendly size. Otherwise, it’s offering free neighbourhood delivery of beans or hot coffee.
From 12 to 4 pm, Monday to Friday, Discovery Coffee is offering multiple packages, which they will deliver for free in the Greater Victoria Area, that include bags of premium coffee, pour over drippers, filters, an Aeropress, coldbrew and (on Wednesdays only) donuts.
From 3:00 - 8:00 pm everyday, one of Victoria’s most popular cocktail bars, Little Jumbo, is offering “cocktail set-ups”; a fully mixed blend of ingredients ready for you to drop your spirit of choice into at home.
Beginning Wednesday, the caterer Twist of Fate — known for its locally sourced craft cocktails — will also begin delivering cocktail mixes to complement the alcohol you have stocked up at home. Payments will be taken by etransfer and Twist of Fate will provide a recipe and video tutorials.
Most liquor stores remain open with limited hours, stricter cleaning schedules and requirements to keep at least two meters from staff and fellow customers. BC Liquor Stores have cancelled all their tasting events and have suspended bottle return. .
While its brewpub and guesthouse are closed, the provision store run by Spinnakers is open, offering handcrafted beers and ciders, as well as fresh bread, pastries, and house-made malt vinegar.
While its tasting room is closed, the rural location of Sea Cider, an organic heirloom Saanichton, remains open for bottle sales of fine French and English-style ciders.
Vancouver Island Brewing is now offering free delivery for all orders of 24 cans or more. Meanwhile, its brick-and-mortar location has been converted into a drive-thru: “Honk or knock on the door and we'll be right over to take your order.” Phillips Brewing is offering similar delivery and drive-thru services.
You can visit Driftwood, the makers of the beloved Fat Tug IPA, and pay onsite with a tap-enabled payment card. They will also deliver to your doorstep in Victoria, Oak Bay, Esquimalt, Vic West, Colwood, Langford, Saanich, Saanichton and Sidney.
Pilsners, pale ales and a black currant table beer are available for delivery and pickup from Whistle Buoy, a small batch brewer that focuses on Vancouver Island ingredients. It’s a new type of business in the centre of Victoria, after a 2018 zoning bylaw change allowed beer, wine and spirit production in the downtown core.
For Victoria’s army of residents newly working out of their home, office retail giant Staples remains open with reduced hours, restricted capacity and the option for “contactless curbside pickup.” Monk Office Supplies is also open on a limited schedule, but is encouraging customers to either get their purchases delivered or call ahead to have store staff prepare the purchases for pickup.
Victoria’s Home Depot locations are still open, but with shorter hours and strict guidelines on social distancing. You’ll be met at the door by staff (from a distance of at least two meters) to ensure that only a limited number of customers are allowed into the store at any one time.
Canadian Tire has been deemed an essential service and its locations remain open, albeit on a limited schedule to allow for more thorough cleaning. However, many retail chains owned by Canadian Tire, including Mark’s and Sport Chek, have been closed until at least April 2.
Many stores at The Bay Centre are operating on reduced hours (Monday to Saturday, 12pm-6pm; Sunday 12pm-5pm) or have closed. The Service Canada location in the mall remains open, as does Coast Capital Savings. LensCrafters is open for emergencies by appointment only. Earls Kitchen, Edo Japan, Johnny Rockets, Marble Slab Creamery and Opa! of Greece all remain open for takeout only.
Jason Flower, owner of the record shop Supreme Echo, will bring vinyl LPs to you on his bike. A list of more than 600 albums in stock — including originals from Jimi Hendrix, Neil Young and Leonard Cohen — is here.
Munro’s Books, Victoria’s most venerable bookseller, will slip you your preferred read through the front door. While the bookseller’s retail location is closed, you can still phone in orders or requests and staff will come meet you when you knock during operating hours.
Russell Books is offering a contact-free pickup window for all orders, and free shipping on orders over $50 throughout North America.
Legends Comics closed its doors last week because its layout makes social distancing difficult, but phone orders are still accepted and staff will meet you at the door. Vancouver Island chain Curious Comics, with locations in Victoria, Langford and Nanaimo, has remained open to in-store browsing, but is only allowing a limited number of customers in at a time.
Harbour Air has temporarily paused flights to Washington State and from Victoria to Pitt Meadows, but is operating routes from Victoria to Vancouver, Richmond and Whistler on a regular schedule. The capacity of each flight has been reduced to guarantee single-person seating on all aircraft. Up-to-date flight schedules can be found here.
BC Ferries has begun to cancel surplus sailings that were originally planned for the popular April travel period, including trips between Metro Vancouver and Vancouver Island. The company confirmed over the weekend that one of its staff is off work with COVID-19, but said they did not come into contact with any customers.
While BC Transit is still up and running, some routes have been cancelled while others are operating on reduced service. Passengers are being asked to board through the rear doors of all vehicles and fares are free for the next month.