- Widespread lockdowns due to COVID-19 across the country have pushed Canadian retail sales down by 10 per cent in March, the biggest plunge on record. Statistics Canada reports that April’s preliminary numbers suggest that month’s data are likely to be even worse, down 15 per cent from March’s already low level. However, food and beverage sales were up 22 per cent, while general merchandise stores had their best month ever, with sales up 6.4 per cent. Sales at health and personal care stores rose 4.6 per cent, also to their highest level on record, while cannabis sales rose 19 per cent. Canadians spent $2.2 billion online in March, 40 per cent higher than in the same month last year.
- Some businesses serving the public are adding COVID-19 surcharges to bills in order to cover the costs of PPE such as masks, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant, all of which are necessary to safely operate a retail or customer-facing business but whose prices have increased dramatically. Marketing expert David Soberman, a professor at the Rotman School of Business at the University of Toronto, suggests that businesses be up-front and transparent if they are forced to levy such charges, and to be aware that many customers, themselves feeling the effects of reduced incomes, may not be understanding of the challenges facing businesses in the current crisis.
- The Bank of Canada is strongly advocating that businesses continue to accept cash, noting that the risks posed from handling cash are no greater than those posed by touching other common surfaces like doorknobs, kitchen counters and handrails. Canadians handling cash should follow the public health guidelines on COVID-19 and wash their hands often, as they would do for other activities. New Canadian banknotes are made of polymer and can be washed with soap and water, although older, paper notes would be damaged.
- COVID-19 may be the catalyst — not the cause — of a painful but useful economic transformation, Don Pittis, CBC
- Will the COVID-19 pandemic lead to a permanent revolution in working from home? Omar Sachedina & Ben Cousins, CTV News
- How to weigh the risk of going out in the coronavirus pandemic, in one chart, German Lopez & Amanda Northrop, Vox
If you are showing symptoms, you must self-isolate for a minimum of 14 days. Call a public health authority immediately. Do not visit any healthcare provider in person before you have been directly advised to by public health authorities.
It is important that everyone practice physical distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Remain at home unless absolutely necessary. Minimize contact with other people. Wash hands frequently and thoroughly. Avoid touching the face. Maintain a 2-meter distance from others if you are required to be out in public. If you have recently traveled outside the country, you are legally required to self-isolate for 14 days.
Previous updates can be accessed here.
Stay safe and be vigilant. The GNCC is here to support you. Contact us with any questions you have.