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Coronavirus: Code Red restrictions ‘devastating’ on Manitoba retailers: RCC

What's open and what's closed in Winnipeg over the holidays?. Don Mitchell / Global News

It’s going to be a tough holiday season for Manitoba retailers after Code Red restrictions were instituted across the province last week to curb the spread of COVID-19, according to the Retail Council of Canada (RCC).

As a result, all non-essential stores must keep their doors closed for at least four weeks.

Read more: 10 more COVID-19 deaths in Manitoba Sunday, 494 new cases

That time frame crosses into the busiest time of year for retail — the holiday shopping season.

“This is devastating for the retail sector,” said John Graham, director of government relations with the RCC Prairie Region.

“This is the key time of the year when high sales make up for softer sales from the balance of the year.”

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A recent survey by the RCC revealed that 90 per cent of Canadians say buying from a retailer in Canada is key and 83 per cent also agree that buying items made in Canada is important.

Graham suggests putting those words into action by supporting local shops that have incorporated remote shopping options.

“The research we have shows that people still want to buy gifts, they want to gift to loved ones and buy for themselves as well,” he said. “We encourage supporting local brick-and-mortar stores that are doing their very best to get through this.”

Read more: Two businesses fined $5,000 as Winnipeg steps up COVID-19 enforcement

Many Manitoba retailers are offering online shopping and curb-side pickup.

Graham suggests calling your favourite store or checking its social media to find out what options are available to you.

“Remember to shop local, support small retail stores who may not be physically open but are still available to sell online or by phone. Just continue to help local businesses as they try to get through these challenging times.”