Adidas joins Nike in announcing store closures over coronavirus

MUNICH (Reuters) – German sportswear maker Adidas (ADSGn.DE) on Tuesday joined rivals in announcing store closures in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Adidas and Reebok-owned stores in Europe, North America and Canada will be closed temporarily, the company said in an emailed statement. Stores will be closed March 18-29 in Europe. In the United States and Canada they will be closed March 17-29.

“At Adidas, the health and safety of our employees, customers and partners have the highest priority,” the group said, adding that affected staff would be paid for their planned working hours despite the closures.

Rivals Nike (NKE.N), Lululemon Athletica (LULU.O) and Under Armour Inc (UAA.N) on Sunday said they would close stores in the United States and other markets, joining a growing list of major retailers moving to help to limit the spread of the virus.

Adidas last week said that it expected first-quarter sales to drop by up to 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) in greater China and to fall more than 10% overall because of the pandemic, including a drop of about 100 million euros in Japan and South Korea.

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Winnipeg Harvest and food programs feeling pinch from coronavirus

As concerns about COVID-19 increase across Manitoba, Winnipeg Harvest is seeing its supply of food drop.

The food bank relies on donations from people and stores, but with people stockpiling and stores not having a lot of extra stock, the organization is feeling the pinch.

“This has never happened to Winnipeg Harvest,” CEO Karen Taylor-Hughes said.

“Because there’s so much buying going on in grocery stores, we’re having a hard time getting donations.”

Winnipeg Harvest also supplies food to nearly 100 other food bank programs across the city.

Taylor-Hughes said the number of people who will be relying on their services is only going to increase with some people losing their jobs.

“We are now asking folks to donate funds to help us purchase food. And we’re working with all the retailers who are reaching out to us and asking what our needs are so we can ensure that we keep the flow of food going.”

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Coronavirus: How the Emergencies Act could help Canada’s struggling economy

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday that the federal government is considering invoking the Emergencies Act to help keep the Canadian economy afloat as the novel coronavirus spreads throughout the country.

Speaking from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Trudeau said he has asked House Leader Pablo Rodriguez to speak with his provincial counterparts to recall the House of Commons to bring in “emergency measures.”

Trudeau said little about what those measures would specifically entail, but when asked what enacting emergency measures would do that differed from current protocol, he said the government was examining the act “to see if it will allow us to do more things that can’t be done otherwise.”

The announcement to consider emergency measures marks an upward trajectory in government response, which previously saw sweeping border closures to help flatten the curve of the virus.

What is the Emergencies Act?

The Emergencies Act received Royal Assent in 1988, replacing the War Measures Act. It was created to provide a legal framework for power to be temporarily consolidated with the prime minister and cabinet to issue executive orders during national emergencies, like COVID-19.

It has only ever been invoked three times in Canada: during the first and second World Wars, as well as during the October Crisis of 1970, when members of the Front de Libération du Québec abducted then-provincial Deputy Premier Pierre Laporte and British diplomat James Cross.

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Coronavirus: London, Ont. animal shelter to limit operations as outbreak spreads

Humane Society London & Middlesex (HSLM) announced it’s limiting shelter operations as two more cases of COVID-19 were confirmed locally on Tuesday.

In an official statement released Tuesday afternoon, the HSLM stated all surrenders and adoptions will be done by scheduled appointment only.

Those who need to surrender a pet or are “… seriously considering adopting an animal” are asked to call to request an appointment, the statement said.

The humane society adds anyone entering the shelter, including volunteers, will be required to sign a release form stating their current health status and recent travel history.

“We will continue to maintain our vigilant cleaning routines to ensure the health of our staff,” said HSLM Executive Director Steve Ryall.

“By limiting public access we can best control exposure and maintain a healthy environment for our team and the animals … which we care for.”

The humane society adds its facing a shortage in cleaning supplies and pet food.

Its asking those wishing to donate to do so online as suppose to dropping items off at the shelter.

Donations of high-priority items such as cleaning supplies or pet food are asked to be dropped-off at the administrative entrance.

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How to keep busy at home in Edmonton during the COVID-19 pandemic

For those in self-isolation or those practicing social distancing amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the day-to-day could become monotonous.

That’s why an Edmonton bookstore is hoping to provide some literary relief, by making home deliveries.

Glass Bookshop co-owner Matthew Stepanic, along with his dog, are driving around the Edmonton-area to make drop-offs.

“Usually, I’m talking through a screen door and placing books outside, but people have been really appreciative,” explained Stepanic.

“We basically moved the bookshop entirely online. People can pick out the books they want to read and we deliver it, free of charge.”

The bookstore itself, located in City Centre Mall, has been closed to encourage others to practice social distancing.

“We made that choice for the health of our community. It was a tough call, but we also cancelled all of our events we had planned with authors. This is the best way to stop the spread of COVID-19.”

Stepanic said the shop has seen dozens of orders as of Tuesday, and expects more on the way.

“It’s really tough as an independent bookshop. Our mandate in the community is to be a gathering place,” said Stepanic. “We’re trying to do as much as we can to support the community and still connect with people in whatever ways are possible.”

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Dalhousie medical students start volunteer service for COVID-19 health workers

University students in Halifax are volunteering to run errands, walk pets and buy groceries for healthcare workers tied to the office in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis.

The initiative organized by Dalhousie University medical students kicked off on Monday and already has roughly 30 young people from various allied healthcare programs signed up to serve their communities.

“We’re hoping that healthcare professionals and students can come together during this especially difficult time to support and deliver the best healthcare to the patient,” said Freddy Lee, co-organizer and president of the Dalhousie University Medical Students Society.

“We really believe that supporting our frontline workers in this way and provided these valuable services is much-needed at this time.”

While unaffiliated formally with Dalhousie University, the ‘Dal Health Students for Healthcare Providers’ group is offering free childcare to health workers between March 23 and April 3, while schools in Nova Scotia are shuttered.

Its volunteers can also transport items, visit elderly relatives, make trips to the grocery store and complete other tasks at the request of health workers scrambling to find assistance as they cope with the pandemic at work.

“We’ve indicated that we’re quite flexible and if there are any services the volunteers can provide or the healthcare professionals may need, indicate that on our forms,” Lee told Global News.

Workers interested in enlisting the aid of volunteer students can do so by emailing [email protected] or filling out this online Google doc.

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Coronavirus: Siksika Nation declares local state of emergency due to COVID-19

The COVID-19 outbreak has prompted another local state of emergency in Alberta.

On Monday, Siksika Nation made the order after 18 new cases of the virus were confirmed in the province.

A news release was issued to the public notifying residents of the order at 5 p.m.

“By issuing a SOLE we are able to ensure that we are taking proactive action in protecting the health and safety of Siksikawa,” the release said.

The release stated that with the news of community transmission and rise in cases, Siksika Nation members now have a medium risk of infection.

Effective Monday, officials said all children and youth should avoid public gatherings. The release also states that social gatherings of more than five people should be limited.

“Siksika people have always been survivors. We survived residential schools, we survived a massive flood in 2013 and we are resilient people,” the release said.

“We too, will survive and overcome this most recent adversity.”

The news release outlined the number of COVID-19 cases in Alberta is expected to rise.

While no cases have been confirmed on any First Nations yet, the release said the virus could be expected to enter Siksika soon.

Red Deer, Leduc and the Blood Tribe also announced local states of emergency Monday, following Calgary’s announcement on Sunday.

On Tuesday, the Town of Banff joined the list of municipalities across Alberta to declare the order.

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Banff declares a state of emergency amid coronavirus pandemic

The Town of Banff has declared a state of local emergency as Alberta attempts to stem the spread of COVID-19.

The declaration gives the town the authority to impose restrictions on local businesses and organizations.

In a news release Tuesday, the town said effective immediately, all gatherings are limited to less than 50 people, including employees and customers.

In addition, the town is imposing restrictions on properties to limit the capacity to 50 per cent of their fire load occupancy, up to 50 people.

Officials explained these measures were being taken to help ensure social distancing, and does not include grocery stores, transit, retail, pharmacies and health facilities.

However, officials said Banff night clubs will be forced to close their dance floors until further notice.

In a news release, Banff Mayor Karen Sorensen acknowledged these changes will impact Banff’s tourism industry, but said they are critical to stopping the spreading of COVID-19.

“The decisions today were not taken lightly,” she said.

“Banff is a community built on the hospitality industry.

We know this will have a significant impact on businesses in town. But we have been in close contact with many establishments who agree that this is the right choice to put the safety of the people in our community as our top priority.”

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Top Brit holiday spot Sunny Beach has all trips banned over coronavirus pandemic

Bulgaria has banned all foreign and domestic holiday trips until April 13 in order to contain the spread of the deadly coronavirus – meaning Brits won't be able to head to popular spot Sunny Beach.

More than 300,000 of our fellow young countrymen and women head across the continent to Bulgaria every year looking for sun, sea and sex.

And it's not hard to see why so many people flock there as thousands of pics have emerged from wild venues in Sunny Beach which encourage revellers to get naked.

Frisky pool parties are also popular in the Balkan seaside resort.

And now Bulgaria, with 81 confirmed cases of the new virus and two deaths, has declared a state of emergency and closed schools, bars and many shops.

The temporary holiday ban represents another heavy economic blow for Bulgaria, the EU's poorest member state, which relies on tourism for about 8% of its economic output.

Announcing the restrictions, Tourism Minister Nikolina Angelkova said it would be irresponsible for people to travel
for a vacation during the crisis.

"It is very hard for me as a tourism minister to say that, but this is very important for the health of the people," she

Bulgaria has already announced it will forbid people from 15 countries from entering the country, as of Wednesday, and many foreign holidaymakers have cancelled reservations at Bulgarian resorts.

Two large winter resorts, Bansko in Pirin and Pamporovo in the Rhodope mountains, closed their ski facilities on Monday after a British tourist in Bansko tested positive for the virus.

Two other people in the resort tested positive on Tuesday.

Angelkova expressed hope that the situation would improve by the summer, when tourists traditionally flock to Bulgaria's Black Sea resorts, but she warned that bankruptcies in the country's hospitality sector could not be ruled out.

"It is impossible for the time being to forecast whether we will have a summer tourism season at all."

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Homeowners offered three month mortgage holiday as coronavirus outbreak grips UK

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced homeowners will get a "three-month mortgage holiday" if they are suffering financial difficulties due to the coronavirus outbreak.

He said: "For those in difficulty due to coronavirus, mortgage lenders will now offer a three-month mortgage holiday so that people will not have to pay a penny towards their mortgage cost while they get back on their feet."

During the government's daily coronavirus briefing, Mr Sunak said an “unprecedented package” of government-backed loans worth £330 billion would also be made available.

He added: "This struggle will not be overcome by a single package of measures or isolated interventions.

"It will be won through a collective national effort, every one of us doing all we can to protect family, neighbours, friends, jobs.

"This national effort will be underpinned by Government interventions in the economy on a scale unimaginable only a few weeks ago."

Mr Sunak added: "The Government will stand behind businesses small and large.

Live updates on COVID-19 cases near you

England: 1,950

  • London: 480
  • South East: 173
  • Midlands: 129
  • North East and Yorkshire: 86
  • North West: 83
  • East of England: 81
  • South West: 77

Scotland: 171

Wales: 124

"I can announce today an unprecedented package of Government backed and guaranteed loans to support business to get through this.

"Today I am making available an initial £330 billion of guarantees, equivalent to 15% of our GDP.

"That means any business who needs access to cash to pay their rent, their salaries, suppliers or purchase stock will be able to access a Government backed loan or credit on attractive terms.

"And if demand is greater than the initial £330 billion I'm making available today, I will go further and provide as much capacity as required.

"I said whatever it takes, and I meant it."

Boris Johnson has also said the Government will do "whatever it takes" to support the economy through the coronavirus outbreak.

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