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Port Coquitlam mayor calls on 'big box' retailers to impose product limits, help seniors

Last Updated Mar 17, 2020 at 10:08 am PDT

In many areas, Costco shelves have been cleaned out multiple times by shoppers stocking up amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Ashley Burr, CityNews photo)
Summary

Port Coquitlam's mayor wants big box retailers to do their part to deal with panic buying that impacts vulnerable groups

Among recommendations is retailers putting occupancy limits in place to ensure no more than 50 people can gather

Mayor Brad West also wants to see purchase limits placed on popular products

PORT COQUITLAM (NEWS 1130) – A Metro Vancouver mayor is pressing big box retailers in his community to enforce crowd limits and give seniors a break during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’ve all heard reports of large crowds in big box retail stores and in restaurants and pubs,” says Port Coquitlam Mayor Brad West. “Businesses can now play a critical role in helping to keep our residents safe during these extraordinary times.”

His list of requests from retailers includes putting occupancy limits in place to ensure no more than 50 people can gather, in keeping with the directions provided by Provincial Medical Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on Monday.

West also wants to see purchase limits placed on popular products, provide delivery services, and offer special shopping hours for vulnerable populations like seniors to ensure they get access to necessities.

PHOTO GALLERY: Empty shelves, crowded checkouts as COVID-19 impacts Metro Vancouver

“This is a request at this point… there are tools available to the city to ensure that occupancy is limited, and nothing is off the table in terms of next steps. But our preference, obviously, is to work cooperatively with our big box retailers,” he says.

West notes that some major retailers like Shoppers Drug Mart have already taken steps in the right direction.

He is also encouraging people to shop local when buying necessities, noting smaller businesses in particular “will be feeling the pinch as they are forced to change or scale back their operations for the sake of public health.”

A survey released Tuesday by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business found that 50 per cent of small businesses Canada-wide have experienced a sales drop due to COVID-19, with the retail sector among the most negatively affected.