Coronavirus: London, Ont., businesses close, look to other options to cope

Heeman's greenhouse in London. Supplied by Heeman's Facebook page

To help reduce the spread of COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, several London, Ont.,  businesses are making the switch to online and phone orders, with some even going so far as temporarily closing down.

On Tuesday morning, Premier Doug Ford declared a state of emergency for the province of Ontario due to the novel coronavirus.

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus outbreak: Ontario declares state of emergency over COVID-19' Coronavirus outbreak: Ontario declares state of emergency over COVID-19
Coronavirus outbreak: Ontario declares state of emergency over COVID-19 – Mar 17, 2020

Under the state of emergency, all facilities providing indoor recreation programs, public libraries, private schools, licensed child care centres, concert venues, theatres, and bars and restaurants except those offering take-out were required to close.

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READ MORE: Ontario government declares state of emergency amid coronavirus pandemic

Heeman’s Garden Centre & Strawberry Farm announced Wednesday that they would be closing their doors for the health and safety of their staff and customers and transitioning to online shopping and curbside pickup at the greenhouse for the foreseeable future.

“We thought it was just a matter of time before the situation got to the point where businesses like ours would be forced to come to the same conclusion,” Chief Daymaker, Will Heeman said.

Heeman said, “when you sell products that make people happy, like we do, it’s our job for our staff to have guests [leave] feeling better than when they came in,” hence the title Daymaker.

The garden centre is just starting to get into their busy season, with Hemman explaining that 50 per cent of all of their sales happen in May.

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He said the response from the community has been very positive as they begin to transition all of their inventory online and adds they are still getting ready for the strawberry season on the farm.

READ MORE: Live updates: Coronavirus in Canada

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Another business, Reimagine Co. in downtown London, closed its store to all foot traffic this week. Instead, they are offering free delivery on all zero-waste products for orders over $25.

The store offers customers zero-waste refillable options to manly daily-use products like detergent, shampoo, and hand soap.

Their Facebook page says orders can be placed online, by phone, or email and they will deliver anywhere within the London area or Dorchester.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: How long can Canadians expect to be social distancing?

On Sunday, Haven Creamery, a handcrafted ice cream store, announced that it also would be closing due to the virus.

In a Facebook post, the store said, “Every day longer we stay open seems foolish and irresponsible. We value our staff and customers above all things and value the people they have at home supporting them.”

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The creamery said that it packaged up its remaining stock and offered customers at-home delivery to those that placed orders on Wednesday.

“This closure brings immense uncertainty for us, and this decision has not been taken lightly, however, we believe this is the only thing to do,” the store’s post said.

Click to play video: 'Ottawa outlines measures to protect Canadians and economy amid coronavirus pandemic' Ottawa outlines measures to protect Canadians and economy amid coronavirus pandemic
Ottawa outlines measures to protect Canadians and economy amid coronavirus pandemic – Mar 18, 2020

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

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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 social distancing, 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.

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