Windsor's first legal cannabis shop set to open this week, despite COVID-19 concerns

The team behind Windsor's first legal cannabis retail store is working toward opening their shop this week — despite ongoing concerns about the global COVID-19 pandemic. 

Representatives for J. Supply Holdings — the Toronto-based company that entered into a consulting agreement late last year with London, Ontario-based entrepreneur Kirk Anastasiadis, who won the chance to apply for a coveted Ontario cannabis retail licence during the province's previous licence lottery in August 2019 — previously told CBC News that the new shop at 545 Ouellette Ave. would open in late March, likely between March 20 and March 27. 

In an email sent Tuesday, David Craig, chief design officer for J. Supply Holdings, said his team is "still on track to open this week," adding that the current goal is Friday. 

Craig said his company has "made some new adaptations" to their protocols to make sure that both staff and customers are safe from COVID-19. 

Rather than immediately allowing customers into the shop, Craig said "we will be open with an online order process that can be done from outside the store."

"Orders can then be picked up in store (time in store will be kept to a minimum for customers)," he wrote. 

Staff will also wear protective gear; cannabis and accessories will be kept beneath glass and won't be displayed on shelves; surfaces will be regularly sanitized; and customers won't be able to pay with cash.

Chris Ensing/CBC

Additionally, staff will limit the number of customers allowed in the store at a single time. 

"Our main concern is to serve the community [in] a responsible way and to keep our staff safe," Craig wrote, adding that more details will be released later in the week "once we have everything finalized."

As per the terms of their agreement with Anastasiadis, J. Supply will provide operations guidelines, branding, product curation, as well as standard operating procedures for the store.