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Coronavirus: Ikea Canada to temporarily close all stores

Coronavirus: Pandemic impacting many facets of everyday life
World financial markets, international air travel and cruising are all being hugely impacted by COVID-19 and the resulting closures and cancellations. Aaron McArthur reports.

Ikea Canada announced Wednesday all stores across the country are closed until further notice due to concerns surrounding the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“Our top priority during these challenging times continues to be health and safety,” said Michael Ward, CEO and chief sustainability officer at Ikea Canada.

“Our communities are working hard to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and to support these efforts, we will temporarily close all stores across the country to support social distancing efforts and based on recommendations from local health authorities.”

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Preventive measures to protect staff and customers from COVID-19 had already been taken in recent weeks as the retailer had closed its restaurants, bistros, and play areas for children. Stores had also been cleaned and sanitized more frequently in recent weeks, according to the statement.

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The retailer says customers will still be able to shop online during the closure and all commercial offers, such as their popular kitchen and bathroom event, will be extended until April 30.

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Ikea’s 7,300 store employees across the country will be supported by a “comprehensive benefits package and paid leave policy” while the stores are closed, according to a company statement.

“As a company who cares deeply about people and the planet, our thoughts are with those directly affected by the virus and those working tirelessly to treat them,” Ward said.

To date, the novel coronavirus has infected nearly 200,000 and killed close to 8,000 people worldwide. As of Tuesday evening, Canada confirmed at least 556 cases and five deaths.