ABC considers altering store hours in response to coronavirus

ABC considers altering store hours in response to coronavirus

By DEVIN PAVLOU, Alabama Daily News

The Alabama Beverage Control Board could close some liquor stores or change hours at others in response to the coronavirus and recommendations from federal and state officials that people stay home and out of crowds as much as possible.
ABC’s government relations manager Dean Argo said the board met on Monday to discuss its plan.

“We are looking at the possibility of going to a different schedule, opening an hour later, closing an hour earlier,” Argo said. “Looking at the density of stores in highly populated areas.

“As of this moment all of our stores are open,” Argo told Alabama Daily News. “This is subject to change if the situation gets worse in Alabama.”

As of Monday afternoon, there were 29 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Alabama. Diagnoses are increasing as access to testing increases.

With so many people “social distancing” as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggested, people are stocking up on all manner of food and supplies, including alcohol.
“Over the last week or so sales have been on the uptick,” Argo said. “I’m not saying that that is directly related to COVID-19, but I will say that sales are increasing.”
Argo says that ABC might have to move employees around due to virus precautions.

“I’ll just use this as an example: in Mobile, where there may be 14 stores, we may go to only seven stores and then have to move employees because, obviously, our stores are subject to the availability of our employees,” Argo said.

In 2018, ABC had 864 employees, according to Alabama State Personnel Department data. There are about 170 stores statewide

For employees that work from the central office, the board is looking at the possibility of allowing work from home. On Sunday, Gov. Kay Ivey issued a memo to all state agency directors saying they should advise employees to work from home if possible starting Monday. If working from home is not feasible, the employee should remain away from the workplace and practice social distancing, as appropriate, for the next several weeks, Ivey’s memo said.