Retailers closing locations across Canada amid coronavirus pandemic

American multinational sportswear manufacturer Nike logo seen at one of their stores. (Photo by Alex Tai/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Retailers have begun to close locations across the country amid concerns about the rapid spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Vancouver-based clothing retailer Aritzia (ATZ) joined a growing list of companies shuttering stores, announcing on Monday that it will close all of its retail locations until further notice.

“As we navigate this complex and challenging landscape, we feel this is the best decision for our people, our clients, our partners and our community as a whole,” the company’s chief executive Brian Hill said in a statement.

Online sales will continue, and the company said it is “significantly increasing” precautionary measures in place at its distribution centres. Aritzia also said all profit made through its online sales at this time will go towards the company’s Community Relief Fund to help support employees.

Shaw Communications will also temporarily close 43 of its retail stores and 116 Freedom Mobile locations, citing “the health and well-being of our employees and customers.”

“Clearly these are extraordinary circumstances and this step will help our communities and health care professionals across the country better tackle this growing pandemic by helping to flatten the curve and reduce the number of individuals who can be exposed to COVID-19,” Shaw’s chief executive Brad Shaw said in a statement.

Vancouver-based carrier Telus has also decided to “temporarily close all” Telus, Koodo, and Public Mobile kiosks in malls across the country at “the close of business today.” Larger storefront locations will remain open for now.

“Keeping customers connected is critical. As communities enhance their lockdown protocols, our storefront locations will remain open to support customers. We are taking precautionary steps to protect team member health and safety by enabling a touchless experience,” a spokesperson wrote in an email.

The spokesperson indicated that customers can seek service support through its online chat and social media.

Retail team members affected by these kiosk closures will continue “to be paid their average monthly wages and performance pay during this challenging time.”

Many retailers have already scaled back operations or closed stores entirely in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Apple (AAPL) said Friday that it would close all retail stores outside of China until March 27. Nike (NKE) said Sunday that it would close stores in Canada, the United States, Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand in an effort to limit the spread of the virus.

Cineplex inc. announced late on Monday night in a press release it will be “temporarily closing” its network of entertainment venues. This includes all locations of The Rec Room and Playdium and its 165 theatres across Canada. The closure will be in effect until April 2.

It noted that all bookings will be cancelled for a full refund.

With files from Shruti Shekar

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