What happened: Large department stores such as the Hudson's Bay Co. and Nordstrom have closed their Vancouver stores.
Why it matters: Statistics from the Retail Council of Canada last year said British Columbians spend nearly $85 billion on retail annually, supporting the more than 290,000 people who are employed in that sector in this province.
The COVID-19 pandemic that has so far caused 196,106 infections and 7,869 deaths worldwide (according to Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering) is wreaking havoc in the retail sector, prompting many retailers to close.
Large department stores such as the Hudson's Bay Co. and Nordstrom are some of the retailers that have closed their doors at least temporarily.
"To help do our part in slowing the spread of COVID-19 we will temporarily close all our stores for two weeks beginning Tuesday, March 17," Nordstrom said March 16 in a Twitter post.
The Hudson's Bay Co. is also closing its stores for two weeks and it said in a statement that it would reassess the situation after that time.
Many Vancouver-based retail chains, such as Lululemon, Aritzia and Kit and Ace are closing all their stores. International brands such as Sephora, H&M, Muji, Nike and others are too.
B.C. Premier John Horgan this afternoon was asked what his advice was for business owners who were not sure whether to stay open.
"I know this will be odd but I heard from my barber today, who doesn't see me as often as she may see other people but she was concerned: 'Do I stay open? Not a lot of people are coming in.' So I don't want to be alarmist and I don't want to be apathetic. That's the balance here. If businesses can keep their doors open and people are going to either come to shop or to get a service provided, we need to continue to do that," Horgan said.
"If you feel that you're at risk, you should stay home but if you don't feel you are at risk, you can participate, should participate, in the economy."