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.”
Our city is home to several big box retail outlets and I’m directing them to take immediate steps to ensure health guidelines are being adhered to, occupancy is being limited, hoarding is stopped and seniors have access to goods they require. #coronavirus #COVIDCanada https://t.co/bBM7Kl9Gpw
— Brad West (@BradWestPoCo) March 17, 2020
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.
“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.
Other measures include limits on popular products, special shopping hours for seniors and providing delivery services. @BradWestPoCo also asking everyone “keep your shopping dollars in #PortCoquitlam as much as possible” by buying local first. #COVID19https://t.co/0cUsAi4xQK.
— Marcella Bernardo (@Bernardo1130) March 17, 2020
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.