With COVID-19 cases surging across the country, Canadians are seeing a second wave of lockdown restrictions. Here’s a breakdown of the new announcements and what it means for retailers:

  • Alberta – most retailers in Alberta face restricted capacity of 25% until December 18.
  • Atlantic Provinces – COVID-19 case numbers are continuing their slow but steady rise across most of Atlantic Canada. On November 23rd, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador announced they are temporarily pulling out of the Atlantic bubble as Nova Scotia and New Brunswick posted double-digit numbers of new cases.  New Brunswick reported 14 new cases on November 29th. In Nova Scotia, all 10 of the province’s new cases are in the central zone, which includes Halifax, and the total number of active cases is 125. Newfoundland’s four new cases, all in the Eastern Health region, bring the provincial total number of active cases to 36.
  • British Columbia   the province has introduced a mandatory mask policy which applies to indoor public spaces and retail environments as well as a social lockdown, which means people only socialize with those in their own household, until December 7.
  • Quebec – is tightening the health guidelines for stores and malls for the holiday shopping season in an attempt to limit the transmission of the coronavirus. Deputy Premier Geneviève Guilbault said she wants Quebecers to be able to shop for loved ones in a safe environment.The measures include:
    • A maximum capacity of customers based on floor space available to customers. The capacity must be displayed at the front of the store or shopping mall.
    • Signs about distancing rules to ensure compliance while shopping and waiting in line.
    • Clear markings so that shoppers can more easily navigate the store.
  • Manitoba – the province is in lockdown banning social gatherings, non-essential businesses are restricted to curb side pick up or delivery, essential stores are limited to 25% capacity, this will be in effect for a minimum of four weeks.
  • Northern Canada – Nunavut moved out of a two-week territory-wide lockdown on December 3rd, with restrictions easing for all communities except for Arviat, where community transmission of COVID-19 is still occurring. In the Yukon, wearing a mask in public indoor places became mandatory in the territory this week, following a sharp rise in cases in the past few weeks.
  • Ontario – Toronto and Peel regions have been moved into lockdown until December 21, in-person shopping will be prohibited with exceptions for essential retailers which are limited to 50% capacity, all non-essential retail stores are limited to curb side pickup only; York, Durham, Waterloo Hamilton, Halton, and Windsor-Essex regions are all in the red zone which allows most businesses to remain open with strict public health measures in place.
  • Saskatchewan – the province has introduced mandatory masking policy for most indoor workplaces, and large retail locations are required to limit customer access to 50% capacity or four square metres of space per person, whichever is less; these policies will be in effect until December 17.

Retailers are already reeling from the blows COVID has dealt them, said Retail Council of Canada president Diane Brisbois. Revenues have already been hammered because of COVID-related closures and restrictions, as well as lower demand, further restrictions risks putting some retailers out of business forever, Brisebois said. “It will be devastating. The last two months of the year are vital. Even more-so this year.” said Brisebois, adding that some retailers earn up to 70% of their annual revenue during the last two months of the year.

A group of approximately 50 Ontario retailers have called on the government to open all stores across the province. The letter was signed by executives from several major retailers, including Hudson’s Bay Company, Canadian Tire, Ikea Canada, Roots and Staples Canada. It argues that the lockdowns in Toronto and Peel Region haven’t reduced the number of people shopping.

“Instead, it has funnelled those shoppers and the corresponding health risk into fewer, increasingly crowded stores within Toronto and Peel, as well as adjacent communities, such as we saw in Vaughan and Markham over the weekend,” the letter stated. “At the same time, as the current policy pushes more Canadian consumers to a handful of big box retailers and discount stores, thousands of small, independent and local stores sit shuttered, with their hands tied, even though many sell the very same goods.”

The province responded by noting the restrictions are aimed at limiting the spread of COVID-19 to protect the health and well-being of Ontarians. As of December 2, there have not been any changes to the restrictions. 

Source: Caledon Enterprise
Source: Globe and Mail
Source: National Post
Source: CTV News
Source: CP 24
Source: CTV News
Source: City News
Source: Retail Council
Source: Government of Saskatchewan
Source: CBC
Source: CBC
Source: Toronto Star
Source: Town and Country Today