Retailers that have remained open as concerns around the spread of the novel coronavirus increase are either succumbing to pressure to shut their doors or explaining why they should be considered an essential service.

Canadian Tire Corp. announced Thursday it would close its "non-essential retail banners" until April 2, including roughly 400 SportChek and 380 Mark's locations.

CEO Greg Hicks says in an open letter that Canadian Tire locations will remain open with reduced hours as they "are doing everything they can to deliver on the essential products Canadians need."

TJX Companies Inc., which operates about 500 stores across its Winners, HomeSense and Marshalls brands in Canada, announced it would close its stores globally for the next two weeks.

It is also closing its online business, distribution centres and offices.

Both companies faced criticism online for remaining open as dozens of other retailers closed their doors to enable social distancing and slow the virus's spread.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 19, 2020