Coronavirus: Lush to close all 258 stores in Canada, U.S. and to slow production

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Lush Cosmetics has become the latest brand affected by the spreading coronavirus pandemic, announcing Sunday it plans to shut down all its North American stores and to slow down production.

The company — which has head offices, factories and distribution centres in Vancouver and Toronto — says all 258 retail stores in Canada and the U.S. will close as of Monday, March 16, through until March 29.

“Because our products are all made fresh by hand weekly for our shops, these closures will also require us to significantly scale down our manufacturing and distribution operations for the duration of the shop closures,” owners Karen and Mark Wolverton said in a statement.

Those products include soap, shampoo, bath bombs and face moisturizers.

READ MORE: Archived: Live updates on coronavirus in Canada

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The company says it is working to ensure employees are paid regular wages during the two-week shutdown.

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Online sales will continue to be available, the Wolvertons added, particularly for soap, “which can be helpful during this critical time.” They cautioned customers to expect delays in shipping, however.

Last week, the company said it was increasing cleaning and personal hygiene practices in all stores and factories, suspending in-store events and product demonstrations, and removing product testers to help limit the spread of COVID-19.

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Confused about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials say the risk is very low for Canadians, but they caution against travel to affected areas (a list can be found here). If you do travel to these places, they recommend you self-monitor to see whether you develop symptoms and if you do, to contact public health authorities.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing – very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. And if you get sick, stay at home.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.