Should big retailers stick to selling only essentials?

Should big-box stores like Walmart be restricted to selling essential items only amid the COVID-19 pandemic?

So far, there’s been no indication that’s been contemplated by government, but such a move has just been made down south in Vermont where retailers, such as Walmart, Target and Costco, have been ordered to stop the in-person sale of non-essential products.

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Those stores in the U.S. state have to stick to selling items like food and prescription drugs amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Items like beauty products, carpet and flooring, clothing, consumer electronics and more can’t be sold, but that merchandise can still be sold by the stores online.

The state’s Agency of Commerce and Community Development explained the directive was meant to provide clarity to an executive order from Governor Phil Scott two weeks ago.

“Large ‘big box’ retailers generate significant shopping traffic by virtue of their size and the variety of goods offered in a single location,” said Agency of Commerce and Community Development secretary Lindsay Kurrle in an agency statement.

“This volume of shopping traffic significantly increases the risk of further spread of this dangerous virus to Vermonters and the viability of Vermont’s health care system. We are directing these stores to put public health first and help us reduce the number of shoppers by requiring on-line ordering, delivery and curbside pickup whenever possible, and by stopping the sale of non-essential items.”

Meanwhile, Stores continue to close in Canada, many relying on online sales only, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but grocery stores continue to operate.

The B.C. government has released clear guidelines for retail food establishments, which have already been taking many measures to prevent the transmission of virus.

Delta bylaw Inspectors have been visiting grocery stores in Delta to deliver copies of the information bulletin.

Meanwhile, B.C. premier John Horgan this week announced he has extended the province’s state of emergency, stressing the next few weeks will be crucial.

Horgan also asked people to keep following the recommendation to stay home as much as possible and to continue physical distance from others.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said she expects the pandemic will continue to impact daily life until the summer, followed by a potential second wave of the virus this fall.



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