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A daily $200 purchase limit on booze is coming to a liquor store near you.

The measure was announced Thursday as the territorial government faces increasing pressure from the Dene Nation and other Indigenous leaders to restrict the flow of alcohol in the territory.

Dene Nation national chief Norman Yakeleya has been urging the government to restrict sales since April 4, arguing that alcohol consumption in Dene communities has become a major concern, especially during the covid-19 pandemic. Indigenous leaders across the NWT have stated that access to alcohol has led to increased public gatherings in their communities, furthering the risk of spreading the virus.

The GNWT news release Thursday states it is now responding to these concerns with daily limits on purchases per customer.

Effective April 16, each customer will be limited to a maximum purchase of $200 worth of alcohol per day.

“However, customers who wish to purchase a single item with a price point above the $200 will continue to be allowed to do so,” states the news release.

“Customers will also be limited to purchasing no more than six 375 ml containers of spirits.”

The GNWT states that the rules won’t apply to the Fort Simpson liquor store because it has its own specific purchase restrictions.

“The restrictions put in place today support the balanced approach the GNWT has taken to managing alcohol in our territory,” states the release. “It is critical that we respond to the needs of residents and communities in a manner that does not put undue strain on our health care system during the emergency response to Covid-19.”

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Simon Whitehouse

Simon Whitehouse came to Yellowknife to work with Northern News Services in 2011. He came from Prince Edward County, Ont., and obtained his journalism education at Algonquin College and the University...

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