As retailers navigate how they can continue to serve customers and operate their businesses during the coronavirus pandemic, cannabis dispensaries are implementing new procedures on the fly.
On Tuesday, Illinois Supply & Provisions moved to online pre-ordering and dispensary pick-up and discontinued walk-in business in light of social distancing recommendations outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that are being implemented across the country.
“The safety of our employees, customers, and especially vulnerable patients, is our top priority,” said Kathleen Olivastro, regional director of Ascend Wellness Holdings, parent company of Illinois Supply & Provisions. “We understand this decision may impact some more than others but believe it is in the best interest of everyone to make this change in the short term. We are taking direction from local, state and federal health experts as we work through this.”
Illinois Supply & Provisions, which has locations in Collinsville and Springfield, serves both the medical and adult-use markets. The company had already dedicated Monday sales for patients only, and that program will continue. According to the company, 70% of their medical patients already use online pre-ordering.
All customers who order online will receive notifications through text or email that the order has been received and a separate notification that it is ready to be picked up to reduce crowds.
Illinois state regulators also announced this week that curbside cannabis sales are now permitted for medical patients, but not adult-use customers.
Ascend, which also operates or has partnerships with dispensaries in multiple states including Ohio and Michigan, says sales have remained steady. They have implemented several policies to minimize the risk for customers and staff of contracting COVID-19:
- Dispensary common surfaces such as door handles, countertops, touchscreens and more are disinfected every hour.
- All employees are instructed to wash their hands every hour and wear gloves.
- IS&P is also limiting the number of people in its waiting rooms and dispensary floors to allow for social distancing for the comfort of guests and making hand sanitizer available throughout the dispensaries.
- The dispensaries are cleaned from top to bottom before and after hours of operation.