Coronavirus: Toronto Hudson’s Bay store open on day 1 of lockdown to suspend in-person shopping

A Hudson’s Bay location on Queen Street in Toronto that remained open on the first day of the second coronavirus lockdown in the city will now be closed for in-person shopping.

Questions were raised on Monday after shoppers were allowed inside. The provincial lockdown in Toronto and Peel Region took effect at 12:01 a.m. on Monday and it’s set to be in place for at least 28 days.

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The store explained that it’s continuing to allow in-person customers to shop because it’s providing essential products and services and that staff were following “strict protocols in place as outlined by the government.”

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Read more: Here’s what you can and can’t do in Toronto, Peel Region during coronavirus lockdown stage

The store has a Pusateri’s Fine Foods and a Foodwares Café. Pusateri’s reported only its “dry goods” portion of the store is open while the Foodwares Café is temporarily closed.

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Ontario government officials issued a statement Monday afternoon saying The Bay still doesn’t qualify as a grocery retailer or a big-box retailer selling groceries.

In-person shopping is only allowed at supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, discount and big-box retailers with full grocery store components (e.g. Walmart, Costco etc.), hardware stores, safety supply stores and pharmacies. However, those businesses must cap the number of customers at 50 per cent of approved capacity.

Read more: Ontario expects to begin receiving COVID-19 vaccines in early 2021, appoints distribution task force

Other retail businesses and department stores are only be allowed to open for curbside pick-up and delivery. Customers are not allowed inside to do in-person retail shopping.

However, the company announced Monday evening that the Queen Street location will be closed as of Tuesday.

“We reviewed (the Ontario government order) closely to ensure compliance and, as such, closed all our stores in Toronto and Peel but one, which contained a grocery store. We understood this to be in line with the province’s direction,” the statement said, noting the “health and well-being of customers” is a “top priority.”

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“However, we have now made the decision to close our Queen Street store tomorrow. All Hudson’s Bay stores in Toronto and Peel will offer shoppers curbside pickup.”

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