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Ikea, Roots join other retailers in closing doors


March 19, 2020
By The Canadian Press

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More major Canadian retailers joined the effort to contain the novel coronavirus outbreak by temporarily closing their stores or tweaking operations with one grocery store chain reducing hours.

Metro Inc. announced Wednesday it will temporarily shorten its hours.

Starting Thursday, its Metro and Food Basics chains in Ontario, as well as Metro Plus, Super C, and Marche Richelieu banners in Quebec, will open at 8 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. daily. Adonis supermarkets will close one hour earlier on weekends, while Quebec’s The Premiere Moisson bakeries will close at 6 p.m. daily.

“This measure will allow our teams to restock the stores, apply the hygiene measures in effect and, of course, give our employees the chance to rest during this hectic period,” spokeswoman Marie-Claude Bacon wrote in an email.

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Grocery stores are considered an essential service at this time and expected to remain open, whereas non-essential services, like clothing retailers, have been closing their doors to help prevent further spread of the coronavirus.

“Our top priority during these challenging times continues to be health and safety,” said Michael Ward, CEO at Ikea Canada, in a statement Wednesday as the company announced it was temporarily closing its 14 stores in the country as a precautionary measure.

Ikea said it would continue to support its workers with benefits and a paid leave policy.

The company had closed it restaurants, bistros and play areas earlier.

Roots Canada announced it would do the same with its 115 Canadian stores starting Wednesday and ending March 31, when the clothing retailer plans to re-evaluate its decision. The company cited American federal government communication, as well as instructions from some Canadian provinces that discourage discretionary shopping trips and gathering in groups larger than 10 people.

Vancouver-based outdoor retailer MEC sent a letter to its co-op members Wednesday announcing it has closed its retail stores effective immediately.

MEC plans to reopen its locations on March 30. The company has 22 stores across Canada, according to its website.

L’Oreal Canada also announced it would close its stores.

Sportscene Group said it would close about a quarter of its restaurants, namely 13 La Cage — Brasserie sportive restaurants and the Moishes locations.

The Home Depot Canada, meanwhile, said it would start closing stores at 6 p.m. starting Saturday and announced it is expanding its paid time off policy to give hourly full-time workers an extra 80 hours of paid sick or personal time.

Part-time staff will receive an additional 40 hours.

Those exposed to COVID-19 and asked to self-quarantine will be paid during their isolation period, the company said.