Large Retailers Shortening Hours and Encouraging Social Distancing


Many of the larger retailers both here in the Sault and across Canada have announced they will remain open to minimize the impact of supply chains due to the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure everyone is able to continue to purchase products and services. Stores like Home Depot, Canadian Tire, Staples and Best Buy have announced temporary adjustments to their operating hours in addition to policies to help enforce social distancing for both employees and patrons.

Home Depot announced they are using their adjusted hours to restock essential items and sanitize their stores. Best Buy has even further stepped up by announcing that they will be continuing to pay employees who are affected by reduction of operating hours for any regularly scheduled shifts.

Best Buy

“Earlier this week we announced changes to how Best Buy will run our business in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Against this backdrop, I wanted to share some of my thoughts about what we’re facing and how Best Buy is responding.

Right now, our role as a consumer electronics retailer is rapidly shifting and we are striving to make the best decisions with two goals in mind: the first is to protect our customers, employees and their families. The second is to do the best we can to serve the millions of Canadians who are looking to us for increasingly vital technology tools to stay connected, as well as household necessities.

You are turning to us for help getting the technology that allows you to continue running a small business or shift your usual job from an office setting to your home. You are turning to us to help your children continue their education outside of their classroom. And, you are turning to us for necessities that allow you to store and prepare food for your family.

With these needs in mind and given our commitment to keep our employees and customers safe, starting March 19 we are shortening our store hours and will begin permitting only a small number of customers into the store at a time, so we can enforce the necessary social distancing guidelines.

As for our employees, let me start by saying this: we will not make any employee work if they aren’t comfortable doing so. Further, if an employee is sick or needs time to arrange childcare, we are ensuring their income stays whole while doing so. Additionally, with our reduced hours and less staff in the stores, we are paying affected employees for their regularly scheduled hours.

We are in a difficult time and find ourselves in uncharted waters. My best wishes to you and your family as we navigate the days ahead together.” – Corie Barry, Chief Executive Officer, Best Buy


Home Depot

“We appreciate the trust you place in us every day. We know that many of you depend on us for the products and materials needed to make urgent repairs in your homes and communities.

We have always been committed to remaining open during times of crisis, and that’s why we’re committed to keeping our stores open now to serve you during this uncertain time. However, we want to let you know that we have temporarily adjusted our hours to close at 6 p.m., beginning Saturday, March 21.

These adjusted hours will give us the ability to restock the essential items you need and help us perform additional cleaning and sanitizing of our stores.

If you’ve been in our stores recently, you know that we’re seeing increased demand for certain items like masks, hand sanitizers and cleaning supplies. Understandably, manufactures have prioritized some of these items for health care providers. That’s why you may see purchase limits on some items. But, know that we are working around the clock to replenish what we can as quickly as possible.

We are incredibly grateful to our associates for their commitment to serving our customers during this time, but we all share the responsibility of keeping each other safe and healthy right now.

We have asked our associates who are sick not to come to work in our stores, and we significantly expanded our paid time-off policies to support them. Likewise, we have advised all delivery and Home Services associates to follow everyday preventive actions to stay healthy and not to enter a customer’s home if they’re sick.

If you have an installation or other in-home service scheduled and want to postpone to a later date, we’ll be happy to reschedule. And, as always, if you aren’t feeling well or aren’t comfortable leaving your home right now, we’re ready to serve you at

We are staying in close contact with public health officials and will continue to make sure that our business practices are consistent with the most up-to-date information. To learn more about what we’re doing to prepare and respond to COVID-19, please visit our corporate page.

This situation impacts all of our families and communities and we want to thank you for your continued support as we navigate this together. We also want to thank our incredible associates and partners for the dedication they show each and every day.” – The Home Depot Canada



“With the complex concerns around COVID-19 evolving quickly in Canada and around the world, it has become clear that we must all do our part to help. We continue to navigate this challenging time and wanted to give you an update on the actions we are taking to support our customers and associates across Canada.

The health and wellbeing of our community is what matters most. With things changing by the minute, we are making some important changes at our stores. Starting Thursday, March 19, we will reduce store hours at Staples locations across Canada. This decision is a precautionary measure to help protect the wellbeing of the Staples community. We have shared full details on these changes and new store hours at

In light of social distancing recommendations, we will also limit customer numbers in our stores for the comfort and safety of our associates. We’ve taken additional precautions to keep our communities safe, including extensive cleaning and sanitizing in each of our locations while they remain open for business. For customers who prefer to shop online, is offering free shipping with no minimums.

Thousands of small businesses, health care clinics, government agencies, offices and communities across Canada rely on us to provide essential products and services to continue basic operations during this uncertain time. It is important to many communities that we continue to serve them in-store and online. In recent days, we have received numerous notes from customers letting us know they appreciate the safety precautions we’ve taken and our continued efforts to serve their needs.

We are here to support you – Canada’s small businesses, essential services, educators, parents and our entire community as we work through this together.

We are proactively managing our supply of products to ensure we continue to have what you need. As one would expect, we are experiencing some in-stock limitations for certain in-demand products, such as wipes, disinfectant and hand sanitizer, and are working hard to continuously replenish those items.

To get through this pandemic, we need to come together, be kind and caring, and continue doing our part to keep each other safe and healthy. Thank you for your continued patience and support as we all work through this unprecedented situation together.” – David Boone,
CEO, Staples Canada


Canadian Tire / Mark’s / SportChek / Atmosphere

“I know that for many Canadians, the last few days have heightened feelings of concern and uncertainty around COVID-19. Right now, we are focused on how we can continue to serve our communities in this time of need, while also being part of the solution. So today, we are announcing some changes that will go into effect tomorrow.

We have made the decision to close all of our non-essential retail banners across Canada until April 2, 2020. This includes our Mark’s/L’Équipeur, SportChek, Sports Experts, Atmosphere, Party City, Pro Hockey Life, National Sports, and PartSource stores. Customers can continue to shop across our family of companies online. We know that for many employees, store closures can lead to financial stress – please note that during the closure period our full and part-time employees will be paid.

At this time, our Canadian Tire Retail stores will remain open, but with reduced hours. Our Canadian Tire Retail stores are doing everything they can to deliver on the essential products Canadians need. We are committed to doing our best to continue helping you navigate through this challenge, and this includes providing the essential products, while protecting the health and well-being of our employees and customers. Please check with your local Canadian Tire store for updated hours of operation. You can of course shop Canadian Tire online at by using our click-and-collect or deliver-to-home options. As online orders increase, it may take us longer than usual to ship your items, and we ask that you try and remain patient with us.

If you plan to visit one of our Canadian Tire Retail stores, know that we are continuing to take precautions such as enhanced cleaning of our stores and encouraging strong hygiene practices among our team members. Unless supply is simply unavailable, we are offering hand sanitizer and wipes at work stations, checkouts and in common areas. To help protect and support our elderly and more vulnerable customers, many of our Canadian Tire Associate Dealers are offering reserved shopping hours. To further protect our store employees and yourselves, we ask that when you are in one of our stores, you practice safe social distancing. And of course, if you are feeling unwell, please take care of yourself and follow Public Health guidelines.

We are doing the best that we can to support you and your local community, while at the same time, doing our part to reduce the spread of COVID-19. With all of us working together, and supporting one another, we will get through this.” – Greg Hicks, President & CEO, Canadian Tire Corporation



“We know that COVID-19 is top of mind for Canadians across the country. We want to thank everyone, especially front-line health care workers, who are working tirelessly on this effort. Our primary focus is the health and wellness of our associates, our customers and our communities. Walmart is monitoring the situation very closely, adhering to guidance from public health authorities and taking several decisive actions in this time of uncertainty.

  • Sent communications to our stores, distribution centres and corporate offices with information on taking proper precautions and supporting them with questions they have.
  • Updating our company travel guidelines to only critical business travel.
  • We are doing our very best to stock our stores and as quickly as possible with the products customers are asking for right now – ex: hand sanitizer, paper products, cleaning supplies and nonperishables, etc.
    • There is a very high demand for pickup and delivery services and our Associates and partners are working hard to fulfill every order.
    • We are communicating with customers about the status of their orders because there is a lot of pressure on the system. We appreciate everyone’s patience.
  • Across our business, we are ensuring our customers are receiving the products they want at the same usual everyday low prices they expect and deserve.
  • We have increased cleaning in the store, and have Associates dedicated to cleaning key areas throughout the day.
  • We will always be there for our 90,000 Associates. We’ve asked any Associate who isn’t feeling well to feel confident staying home and we will be there to support them.
    • We initiated a new policy that provides additional financial support for Associates that are under mandated quarantine. Associates will be eligible to receive pay for hours scheduled to work during the two-week quarantine period.
    • For our Associates who are not feeling well, we have flexible pay and time-off options so they can also choose to stay home.

Overall, Walmart is continuing to adhere to the recommendations of the Public Health Agency of Canada. We urge people to take proper precautions and to contact a medical health professional if they are not feeling well.” – Haio Barbeito, President and CEO, Walmart Canada


Please visit retailer’s websites and social media pages for information about reduced hours and policies set in place to help Flatten the Curve.


  1. Just read a virologist’s report that shortening hours may actually do more harm than good.
    Reduced hours in many cases leads to line-ups which in turn eliminates social distancing by actually creating line-ups and bottlenecks.
    For most businesses a reduction in hours is more about a reduction in payroll expenses and has little to nothing to do with social distancing.

    • “These adjusted hours will give us the ability to restock the essential items you need and help us perform additional cleaning and sanitizing of our stores”, Home Depot Canada. “Additionally, with our reduced hours and less staff in the stores, we are paying affected employees for their regularly scheduled hours”, Best Buy Canada. Unfortunately many small businesses are not in the position to be able to pay employees who are affected by closures or the reduction in hours of operations due to the evaporation of revenues but that is why the feds have stepped in to waive EI wait times as well as implement other relief measures. “In light of social distancing recommendations, we will also limit customer numbers in our stores for the comfort and safety of our associates,” Staples Canada. Hope this helps clear up some of your misconceptions Sickofthenewcanda. At the end of the day, we all need to do our part to help Flatten the Curve and get COVID-19 behind us.

  2. They are doing shorter hours so staff isn’t at risk for any longer than nessasary. Cashiers and store staff are there to serve u. At their own risk while other people have work at home options

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