COVID-19 in Canada: What's closed due to coronavirus concerns
TORONTO -- Customer-facing businesses across Canada have scrambled to make hard decisions on whether to close or remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many have taken the advice of health authorities and closed their doors.
Here’s a roundup of the growing list of companies that have decided to cease operations, albeit temporarily, in a bid to stop the spread of the new coronavirus.
GYMS AND HEALTH CENTRES
Canada’s biggest gym chain has closed all its locations across the country in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Goodlife Fitness and Fit4Less Clubs chief executive David Patchell-Evans made the announcement late Sunday night.
“As the virus continues to spread in communities across Canada we have made the difficult but important decision to close all GoodLife Fitness Clubs across Canada, effective immediately,” the statement read.
“We know that exercise is extremely important to an individual’s physical and mental health and we are currently working on digital at-home fitness options.”
The company has pledged to pay its staff for the next two weeks to “lessen the burden of this tremendous change.”
It added that member payments will be suspended as of March 17 and “paid-in-full memberships will be put on freeze until further notice and expiry dates will be extended accordingly.”
YMCA Canada, which also runs health clubs across the country, said “decisions regarding the status of programs and services will be made by local YMCA Member Associations.”
The YMCA of Greater Toronto has decided to close all its centres until April 5, with the YMCAs of Quebec closing theirs until March 29.
On Monday, Orangetheory Fitness announced it would also close all its gyms in Canada until at least March 30.
“We believe it to be in the best interest of our members and the community as a whole to close all Orangetheory Fitness studios as soon as is orderly possible,” Blake MacDonald, president of Orangetheory Fitness Canada, said in a news release.
According to the company, all memberships will be frozen effective March 17.
LA Fitness confirmed it would be shutting its clubs starting March 16 until at least April 1.
“In order to do our part in the efforts to flatten the curve and impact of this virus, we have made the very difficult decision to close the operations of all our clubs,” the company said in an email to members.
“All memberships will be extended to cover the time the clubs are closed.”
The Planet Fitness Canada chain is offering free 20-minute fitness classes on Facebook live at 4 p.m. PT/7 p.m. ET every day.
Meanwhile, other recreation options are disappearing as businesses across the globe respond to the coronavirus pandemic.
BARS AND RESTAURANTS
Ontario declared a state of emergency on Tuesday, closing all bars and restaurants, with the exception of those offering takeout and delivery.
In Quebec, Premier François Legault has asked restaurants to limit their capacity to 50 per cent, in order to create more space between customers.
Alberta declared a state of public emergency on Tuesday and banned gatherings of 50 people or more, including weddings. Public recreation facilities, casinos, bingo halls, bars, museums, art galleries will all be closed.
Meanwhile, food delivery service SkipTheDishes has suspended cash payments as a precaution to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Customers also have the option of requesting contactless delivery orders, the food-delivery service told CTV News in a statement. Restaurant partners have been advised to seal all takeout bags to limit exposure and unnecessary contact.
Coffee giant Starbucks is moving to a take-out model at its stores in Canada for at least two weeks, over concern about the new coronavirus.
Tim Hortons parent company Restaurant Brands International Inc. has asked its Canadian restaurant owners to provide take-out, drive-thru and delivery only. The company said Monday it is closing all “dining room” seating at Tim Hortons effective Tuesday and will continue the closures until further notice.
Late Monday, the Keg Steakhouse and Bar announced it would close each of its locations in the Canada and the U.S. by the end of the business day on March 17. The steakhouse said it anticipates the closure to last two weeks.
DavidsTea has closed its 230 stores in Canada and the U.S. The company will continue to sell products online and through grocery and other retailers.
Second Cup Coffee Co. has closed all of its in-store dining area but will continue serving and drinks to go, for delivery or via drive through.
Recipe Unlimited Corp. — which owns Swiss Chalet, Harvey's, New York Fries and Pickle Barrel — is also closing its dining rooms as of Wednesday. Some restaurants will continue to offer take out, delivery and drive-through sales.
Ontario’s emergency declaration has ordered all cinemas to close across the province until March 31, when the situation will be reassessed, the provincial government said.
Canada’s largest movie chain Cineplex announced late Monday that it would close 165 theatre locations nationwide until at least April 2. The chain is also closing the Rec Room and Playdium.
The second biggest cinema operator Landmark has also decreased capacity by 50 per cent and increased the frequency of its cleaning in common areas.
VISITOR AND CULTURAL ATTRACTIONS
Cultural institutions across the country are shutting their doors and calling off events because of the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving some concerned for the health of Canada's arts scene, The Canadian Press reports.
The National Museums of Canada said its public institutions will be closed Saturday until further notice.
A raft of visitor attractions in Toronto and elsewhere in Ontario were already shut out of concern for COVID-19, ahead of Tuesday’s emergency declaration that ordered all live entertainment venues to close until March 31.
City of Ottawa recreation and cultural facilities are now closed for the next three weeks.
Costco will remain open, but the company said it will take steps to control the number of people allowed in its warehouses.
All Hudson’s Bay stores are being closed for two weeks, and the company plans to reassess the situation at that time. All store associates will be paid for scheduled shifts during the closure.
Saks Fifth Avenue and Saks Off 5th, which are both owned by Hudson’s Bay Co., will do the same.
Canadian bookstore Indigo is closing all Indigo and Chapters stores until March 27, citing concerns about the health and safety of customers and employees.
Nordstrom is the latest retailer to announce store closures in a bid to protect staff and customers from COVID-19.
The Seattle-based clothing chain is closing all its stores for two weeks starting Tuesday and has promised to pay staff for the time off.
Up-scale clothing retailer Holt Renfrew announced that it is closing all locations “until further notice.” Online shopping will remain available.
H&M is closing all of its American and Canadian retail locations until April 2, starting Tuesday.
Clothing retailer Uniqlo announced Monday that it would close its Canadian stores until March 30, beginning on Tuesday. The company said it will continue to pay employees during that time.
Vancouver-based clothing retailer Aritzia Inc. is closing all of its stores until further notice.
Similarly Nike has closed its stores in Canada until March 27.
Tech giant Apple has closed all its stores outside China until March 27.
Skincare company Kiehls and makeup retailer Sephora have temporarily closed all of their Canadian locations.
Toys "R" Us is closing all 82 of its Canadian stores until March 30.
Claire's Stores Inc. is closing all of its North American stores until at least March 27. Employees will be paid for scheduled shifts.
CIBC said 816 of its locations will stay open with modified hours. Another 206 locations that don’t offer over-the-counter cash and banking services will close on Wednesday.
RBC Royal Bank said it is temporarily closing some, but not all, of its branches this week and is taking steps to help employees work from home.