You can pick up fast food or a coffee without leaving your vehicle. Now, you can also buy alcohol this way in Regina.
There are at least two drive-thru liquor stores in the Queen City. The latest is The Tap in northwest Regina, which added a drive-thru when it renovated its building earlier this year. The drive-thru opened in early June.
Jeff Stephen is the general manager and a partner of The Tap. He said the primary reason to add the drive-thru was for customer convenience.
“For people that want to grab something maybe on your way home or in the evening or whatever time, that they don’t have to get out of their vehicle and simply pull up to the window, let our clerk know what (they’re) after,” Stephen explained. “It was just something that we thought we could be a little bit different.”
He also pointed to an added layer of safety for staff who work late hours, often alone.
“At any time, if we feel unsafe or something, we can close our doors and refer them to the window,” Stephen said.
A drive-thru is convenient, but is it too convenient in a province grappling with the highest rate of impaired driving in the country?
Stephen doesn’t think so.
“When you come to our window, it’s no different than coming in our premises,” he said. “We just make sure that you’re of legal age, you’re not drinking and there is no sign of intoxication or open alcohol.”
Wendell Waldron of MADD Canada in Regina agrees.
“MADD Canada’s stance on it is pretty simple,” he explained. “Provided that the staff is well-trained and they have the ability to identify someone who’s overly intoxicated, there really isn’t too much of an issue with it.”
Waldron noted the more limited interaction between staff and customers with a drive-thru could potentially make it harder for workers to detect if someone is intoxicated.
But he said it is still too early to see if there is any connection between impaired driving and drive-thru liquor stores, as it is a new concept in not only Saskatchewan, but much of Canada.
“To our knowledge, there hasn’t been any real issues with it whatsoever,” Waldron said.
“Down the road, if we start to see any connection between any activity involving alcohol and obviously driving then we’re definitely going to want to suggest legislation or measures that are going to reduce the incidents of impaired driving and fatalities and injuries.”
According to Stephen, the new drive-thru service has been well-received by customers.
Regina’s other drive-thru liquor store is located at Birmingham’s in the east end.
– with files from Kevin Martel