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Canada Coronavirus Update: April 1

9,000+ Cases, 105 Dead


Click here to follow Canada's coronavirus store closings
93 brand closures in Canada (Updated Daily)

'No Mask, No Service' Policy Spreads in Toronto
Some Supermarkets Require Shoppers to Wear Masks to Shop

Critics say stores are 'encouraging civilians to take away medical equipment that's already in short supply'

Shoppers in certain areas of Toronto are noticing a disturbing new trend at local supermarkets: a "no mask, no entry" policy. This is leaving people wondering if these policies are mandatory or even legal, and if they're encouraging civilians to take away medical equipment that's already in short supply from healthcare workers.

Staff members at both Field Fresh Supermarket and Sunfood Supermarket confirmed over the phone that customers would not be allowed inside the store unless they were wearing masks. In fact, there's a sign up at Sunfood Supermarket notifying customers that they must wear protective masks when shopping in the store.

It's unclear to what degree these policies can legally be enforced but one shopper, Matthew Dang, told blogTO he tried to enter Sunfood on March 28 and was denied entry by an employee because he wasn't wearing a face mask.

Downtown Vancouver shops are boarding up their storefronts as COVID-19 outbreak drives crime rates up
Storefronts in downtown Vancouver are boarding up doors and windows, as property crime rates in the city have risen amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. In a release last week, the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) said it reported 86 commercial break-ins around Vancouver from March 1 to 15.

The number of break-ins spiked the following week, with 81 taking place from March 16 to 24. A total of 35 of those incidents took place in downtown Vancouver, where the biggest increase in break-ins has been reported.

Many businesses across the region have voluntarily shuttered on their own accord as a preventative measure for their staff and customers, while others were forced to close due to new government restrictions.

Meanwhile in Toronto, Major Crime Drops While COVID-Related Crime Spikes
Calls for service may be dropping in some Canadian cities and major crime is falling in Toronto — but police across the country are busy battling on a new frontier of lawbreaking: COVID-19 crime.

As businesses have closed and Torontonians have holed up inside, early trends show the shifting nature of crime in a pandemic: since March 16, calls for non-emergency service have sunk and reports of assaults, break-and-enters, robberies and car thefts have all dropped, police said Monday.

And yet amid global efforts to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, police have been busily slapping charges on those finding novel ways to profit, scam a few days off work or flout public safety regulations.

Meanwhile, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre is taking in a higher-than-normal volume of reports, despite its hotline temporarily shutting down due to reduced staffing. Since March 6, the centre has received 111 reports from across the country about COVID-19-related fraud.
COVID-19: Health officer says large supermarkets can let more than 50 people in, subject to strict guidelines

'This order does not directly apply to the retail food and grocery industry'

In a prepared statement, Dr. Henry said that she had been contacted by employers in the retail food and grocery store sector asking for clarity about whether a recent Public Health Act order prohibiting mass gatherings of 50 or more people applied to them.

Specifically, the order prohibited “the gathering of people in excess of 50 people at a place of which a person is the owner, occupier or operator, or for which they are otherwise responsible.”

Noting that retail food and grocery stores were deemed and essential service, Dr. Henry said “While this order does not directly apply to the retail food and grocery industry, the spirit of the order should be followed. This means that, for example, in large grocery stores where it is feasible to have more than 50 people present at one time, it is permissible to do so provided that appropriate physical distancing can be maintained.”

Meet the man in charge of coronavirus-proofing Walmart stores in Canada

Michael Gill has made countless little tweaks and changes inside stores to stop the virus from spreading to customers and staff

Though dressed like a store clerk, with a name tag and a blue vest, the 27-year-old is in charge of redesigning Walmart Canada Corp.’s 408 stores for the coronavirus era.

The Mississauga, Ont.-based chain has a COVID-19 task force consisting of dozens of people working on human resources, supply chain, logistics and operations. Gill’s job specifically concerns the front end, making changes inside the store to stop the virus from spreading to customers and staff.

Like supermarket chains across Canada, taking cues from grocers in harder-hit countries around the world, Walmart has installed Plexiglass shields to protect cashiers and put tape on floors to keep customers two metres apart in checkout lines.

He pointed out other little tweaks that regular shoppers might never notice: cashiers putting receipts in the bag instead of a customer’s hands; attendants at self-checkouts poking touchscreens with a stylus instead of a finger; staff excusing themselves to go to the bathroom every 30 minutes to wash their hands; and a big tarp draped next to the produce section that hides a row of decommissioned bulk bins.

Retailers in Canada United in Condemning Price Gouging
Retail Council of Canada (RCC) and our retail members stand together in denouncing unacceptable price gouging during the COVID-19 pandemic. Price gouging is unethical, especially now. The Canadian retail community knows manufacturers, suppliers, and retailers are doing everything they can to keep prices in check. Even though there is currently upward pressure on price as the Canadian dollar falls and increased costs are passed through the supply chain, we are united in supporting that price gouging is unacceptable. The economic challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic are unprecedented. The incredible, sometimes devastating, impact is being felt by all citizens.

COVID-19: Canada layoff tracker

Nordstrom Launches Canadian E-Commerce Site After Shutting All Stores Amid Coronavirus

Reitmans lays off 90% of retail staff as coronavirus shutters stores

Frontline Peel Regional Police officer tests positive for COVID-19

Alberta gun owners stocking up on ammo, firearms amid COVID-19 fears, say retailers

‘Be patient and kind’: London Drugs staff face threats before, during virus pandemic

York, ON: Man who allegedly beat cop in mall parking lot now charged with attempted murder
York Regional Police have named a 22-year-old man accused of severely beating one of its officers, allegedly with his own expandable baton, in the parking lot of a mall in Richmond Hill on Friday afternoon. Investigators said that at about 3:40 p.m. on Friday, an officer was parked in his cruiser at Hillcrest Mall, near Yonge Street and Carrville Road, near the Marshall’s store in the mall. A man approached him and allegedly began to hit him as he sat inside his cruiser. A witness told CP24 the suspect then got the officer out of the vehicle and continued to strike him numerous times. Investigators say the officer was able to radio for help. The officer, who has served in York Region for four years, remained in hospital Saturday with serious but non-life-threatening injuries.

Edmonton, AB: Three charged with more than 70 offences after store robbed, witness shot at
A Monday night armed robbery that ended with one suspect firing their weapon at a witness and a chase involving police dogs and a helicopter has led to three men being charged with more than 70 offences. Three men entered a store near 83 Street and 160 Avenue wearing masks and carrying guns at approximately 9 p.m. on March 16, a city police news release said Wednesday. The men demanded money and began emptying the store’s safe. Once the men noticed a witness taking a photo of their truck the men began shooting their guns. No one was hurt. One of the men fled into a residence but they were all eventually taken into custody.

Calgary, AB: $50K in rare Fantastic Four comic books stolen from shop
Three rare Fantastic Four comics worth about $50,000 were stolen from a southeast Calgary shop. Although police have made one arrest, they're still looking for a second man as well as the missing books. Because of a previous store break-in, he believed they would be safer in his home, where thieves would first have to make it past two 120-pound dogs. Two men grabbed Robicheau, threw him to the ground and stole the briefcase. The two men ran to a nearby vehicle, but when they realized the store owner was still watching them, they took off on foot, according to police.

Kingston, ON: Police investigating pellet gun shooting at mall

Portage la Prairie, MB: Shoplifting Spree Ends With Suspect in Custody for Unrelated Matters


Robberies & Burglaries

C-Store - Greater Sudbury, ON - Robbery
C-Store - Calgary, AB - Armed Robbery
Comic Shop - Calgary, AB - Robbery/Assault
Grocery Store - Dinsmore, SK - Burglary
Grocery Store - Windsor, ON - Robbery
Mac's - Hamilton, ON - Armed Robbery
Pharmacy - Leamington, ON - Armed Robbery

Pharmacy - Pembroke, ON - Armed Robbery
Unnamed Store - Edmonton, AB - Armed Robbery
Variety Store - London, ON - Armed Robbery
Walmart - St. Albert, AB - Burglary