These days, news about COVID-19 is everywhere we turn, and for good reason. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak a pandemic. However, WHO’s Director-General also said that it is controllable — urging countries to “strike a fine balance between protecting health, preventing economic and social disruption, and respecting human rights.”
Industries like travel, manufacturing, and luxury retail have felt the impact of the health emergency, and we’re now seeing larger companies take necessary precautions to protect the health and safety of its employees, customers, and partners.
here is how six prominent companies and retailers have responded to the global health emergency.
While Starbucks plans to maintain regular operations at North American locations, they are taking precautionary measures and are ready to adapt at any moment. Starbucks EVP and CEO Rossann Williams stated in an open letter that the company has increased cleaning and sanitizing of locations and is providing staff with “scenario-based procedural information.”
On the customer side of things, Starbucks has paused the use of personal cups and “for here” wares, though the coffee chain will still honour the 10% discount for anyone who brings in a personal cup or asks for “for here” ware. In another open letter by Starbucks CEO and President Kevin Johnson, the company stated that store experience may be adapted to “limiting seating to improve social distancing, enable mobile order-only scenarios for pickup via the Starbucks App or delivery via Uber Eats, or in some cases only the Drive Thru will be open.” Each situation will be explored case-by-case and in a worst-case scenario, we could see stores close temporarily.
In order to address concerns raised by customers, T&T Supermarkets released a statement saying the company has taken “urgent action.” Tina Lee, the company’s CEO first promised that there would be “no surge pricing” at stores, however, due to high demand on tntsupermarket.com, shoppers may experience out-of-stock items. In stores, staff who have travelled to high impacted areas are self-isolating. The grocer has also increased cleaning and sanitizing for grocery carts and baskets and is providing hand sanitizer in high traffic areas for shoppers.
On March 7, Costco took precautions and put a hold on its food sample program. The program added unnecessary risk to both shoppers and employee safety. As of right now, there is no guaranteed date set for when the program will be reinstated. But with popularity amongst members, it’s likely to be reinstated when the global health concerns die down.
Everyone’s favourite outdoor store, Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC), is also taking extra safety precautions at this time. A spokesperson for the company told CTV News that MEC will be temporarily suspending its equipment rentals service. In addition, MEC is also suspending the use of its climbing and bouldering walls. However, stores will remain open and the retailer will be implementing “enhanced cleaning, limiting business travel, and promoting everyday preventative behaviours with our teams across the country.”
Like Starbucks, Tim Hortons has temporarily stopped its use of reusable ware. But more notable is the change that the company has made to its Roll Up The Rim To Win program. This year, the company has taken the contest digital, stating that given the current circumstances, “Tim Hortons does not believe it’s the right time for team members in our restaurants to collect rolled up tabs that have been in people’s mouths.”
The company that owns popular malls like Eaton Centre, Shops at Don Mills, Pacific Centre, and more released a statement addressing COVID-19 on March 12. Every property owned by the mall will increase the cleaning of washrooms, stairwells, elevators, lobbies, and employee common areas. Washrooms have new handwashing signage and all properties have increased hand sanitizer stations. Cadillac Fairview has also put a committee in place to coordinate efforts and has established a protocol with employees, tenants, and contractors should any of them be exposed to coronavirus.
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