TORONTO -- Customer-facing businesses across Canada have scrambled to make hard decisions on whether to close or remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many have taken the advice of health authorities and closed their doors.

Here’s a roundup of the growing list of companies that have decided to cease operations, albeit temporarily, in a bid to stop the spread of the new coronavirus.


Canada’s biggest gym chain has closed all its locations across the country in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Goodlife Fitness and Fit4Less Clubs chief executive David Patchell-Evans made the announcement late Sunday night.

“As the virus continues to spread in communities across Canada we have made the difficult but important decision to close all GoodLife Fitness Clubs across Canada, effective immediately,” the statement read.

“We know that exercise is extremely important to an individual’s physical and mental health and we are currently working on digital at-home fitness options.”

The company has pledged to pay its staff for the next two weeks to “lessen the burden of this tremendous change.”

It added that member payments will be suspended as of March 17 and “paid-in-full memberships will be put on freeze until further notice and expiry dates will be extended accordingly.”

YMCA Canada, which also runs health clubs across the country, said “decisions regarding the status of programs and services will be made by local YMCA Member Associations.”

The YMCA of Greater Toronto has decided to close all its centres until April 5, with the YMCAs of Quebec closing theirs until March 29.

On Monday, Orangetheory Fitness announced it would also close all its gyms in Canada until at least March 30.

“We believe it to be in the best interest of our members and the community as a whole to close all Orangetheory Fitness studios as soon as is orderly possible,” Blake MacDonald, president of Orangetheory Fitness Canada, said in a news release.

According to the company, all memberships will be frozen effective March 17.

LA Fitness confirmed it would be shutting its clubs starting March 16 until at least April 1.

“In order to do our part in the efforts to flatten the curve and impact of this virus, we have made the very difficult decision to close the operations of all our clubs,” the company said in an email to members.

“All memberships will be extended to cover the time the clubs are closed.”

The Planet Fitness Canada chain is offering free 20-minute fitness classes on Facebook live at 4 p.m. PT/7 p.m. ET every day.

Meanwhile, other recreation options are disappearing as businesses across the globe respond to the coronavirus pandemic.


Ontario declared a state of emergency on Tuesday, closing all bars and restaurants, with the exception of those offering takeout and delivery.

In Quebec, Premier François Legault has asked restaurants to limit their capacity to 50 per cent, in order to create more space between customers.

Alberta declared a state of public emergency on Tuesday and banned gatherings of 50 people or more, including weddings. Public recreation facilities, casinos, bingo halls, bars, museums, art galleries will all be closed.

Meanwhile, food delivery service SkipTheDishes has suspended cash payments as a precaution to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Customers also have the option of requesting contactless delivery orders, the food-delivery service told CTV News in a statement. Restaurant partners have been advised to seal all takeout bags to limit exposure and unnecessary contact.

Coffee giant Starbucks officially moved to close all of their cafes and shift to drive-thru and delivery only on March 20, after testing out serving only to-go orders in their stores. They said in a statement that an exception would be made for cafes in or around hospital and health care centers in order to continue to serve health care workers. 

Tim Hortons parent company Restaurant Brands International Inc. has asked its Canadian restaurant owners to provide take-out, drive-thru and delivery only. The company said Monday it is closing all “dining room” seating at Tim Hortons effective Tuesday and will continue the closures until further notice.

Late Monday, the Keg Steakhouse and Bar announced it would close each of its locations in the Canada and the U.S. by the end of the business day on March 17. The steakhouse said it anticipates the closure to last two weeks.

DavidsTea has closed its 230 stores in Canada and the U.S. The company will continue to sell products online and through grocery and other retailers.

Second Cup Coffee Co. has closed all of its in-store dining area but will continue serving and drinks to go, for delivery or via drive through.

Recipe Unlimited Corp. — which owns Swiss Chalet, Harvey's, New York Fries and Pickle Barrel — is also closing its dining rooms as of Wednesday. Some restaurants will continue to offer take out, delivery and drive-through sales.

As of March 22, McDonald’s Canada is closing its dining rooms and take-out service, and is suspending curbside pickup. The fast food giant said it will still offer drive-thru and McDelivery service.

McDonald’s notes that “select restaurants may continue to offer take-out service in communities where there are specific needs, including locations near hospitals and healthcare facilities.” The company says it’s working closely with franchisees to identify those locations.

In Ontario, the Beer Store and the LCBO are limiting their hours and won’t be accepting returned bottles or cans for the next two weeks.

Beginning on Thursday, the Beer Store will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Those stores that already operated only until 6 p.m. will maintain regular hours.

The LCBO, on the other hand, will operate from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.


Ontario’s emergency declaration has ordered all cinemas to close across the province until March 31, when the situation will be reassessed, the provincial government said.

Canada’s largest movie chain Cineplex announced late Monday that it would close 165 theatre locations nationwide until at least April 2. The chain is also closing the Rec Room and Playdium.

The second biggest cinema operator Landmark, with 46 theatres, followed shortly after Cineplex's announcement saying that it would close all of its locations across the country, which span Western Canada, Ontario and the Yukon.


Cultural institutions across the country are shutting their doors and calling off events because of the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving some concerned for the health of Canada's arts scene, The Canadian Press reports.

The National Museums of Canada said its public institutions will be closed Saturday until further notice.

A raft of visitor attractions in Toronto and elsewhere in Ontario were already shut out of concern for COVID-19, ahead of Tuesday’s emergency declaration that ordered all live entertainment venues to close until March 31.

The Art Gallery of Ontario said Wednesday that it will remain closed through April 5.

City of Ottawa recreation and cultural facilities are now closed for the next three weeks.


Ikea Canada has announced the temporary closure to its stores, effective immediately.

The company said in a press release Wednesday, that the closures are “until further notice,” though online shopping and store click and collect pick-up is still available.

“IKEA will continue to support co-workers through its comprehensive benefits package and paid leave policy,” it said.

Costco will remain open, but the company said it will take steps to control the number of people allowed in its warehouses.

All Hudson’s Bay stores are being closed for two weeks, and the company plans to reassess the situation at that time. All store associates will be paid for scheduled shifts during the closure.

Saks Fifth Avenue and Saks Off 5th, which are both owned by Hudson’s Bay Co., will do the same.

Canadian bookstore Indigo is closing all Indigo and Chapters stores until March 27, citing concerns about the health and safety of customers and employees.

Nordstrom is the latest retailer to announce store closures in a bid to protect staff and customers from COVID-19.

The Seattle-based clothing chain is closing all its stores for two weeks starting Tuesday and has promised to pay staff for the time off.

Up-scale clothing retailer Holt Renfrew announced that it is closing all locations “until further notice.” Online shopping will remain available.

H&M is closing all of its American and Canadian retail locations until April 2, starting Tuesday.

Clothing retailer Uniqlo announced Monday that it would close its Canadian stores until March 30, beginning on Tuesday. The company said it will continue to pay employees during that time.

Vancouver-based clothing retailer Aritzia Inc. is closing all of its stores until further notice.

Similarly Nike has closed its stores in Canada until March 27.

Tech giant Apple has closed all its stores outside China until March 27.

Skincare company Kiehls and makeup retailer Sephora have temporarily closed all of their Canadian locations.

Toys "R" Us is closing all 82 of its Canadian stores until March 30.

Claire's Stores Inc. is closing all of its North American stores until at least March 27. Employees will be paid for scheduled shifts.

Le Chateau announced Wednesday that it is closing all of its stores immediately until March 29. The retailer will continue to offer online shopping during the closure.

Second-hand store giant Value Village announced that they would be closing all of their Savers, Value Village, Unique and Village des Valeurs stores across North America on March 20. They said the closure would last until April 6. 

On Wednesday, furniture store Structube closed all of its 75 stores across Canada until March 28. All employees will be paid their regular wages during that time. Until further notice, scheduled deliveries are still in effect, and the company has extended its return policy to 14 days from seven days.

In an email to Costco customers on Wednesday, Costco President and CEO Craig Jelinek said the company is taking extra measures to keep store shelves and shopping carts clean, while reducing some services.

The company is also limiting purchases of certain items to ensure more customers have access to the supplies.

EB Games Canada closed all of its retail locations after the company garnered scrutiny for attracting lineups during the launch of a new video game.


While many stores across the country have closed, a number of electronic retailers have indicated they plan to stay open during the health emergency in order to help people and business stay connected.

Best Buy, Staples Canada, and Canada Computers & Electronics have all announced their retail locations would stay open, but with reduced hours. Both Best Buy and Staples Canada said they would also limit the number of customers allowed into their stores at one time in order to follow social distancing guidelines during the pandemic.

On the other hand, The Source, which is owned by BCE Inc., the parent company of CTV News, said  all of their corporately-owned retail locations across the country will remained closed until March 31. 


CIBC said 816 of its locations will stay open with modified hours. Another 206 locations that don’t offer over-the-counter cash and banking services will close on Wednesday.

RBC Royal Bank said it is temporarily closing some, but not all, of its branches this week and is taking steps to help employees work from home.

- With files from Writers Ben Cousins, Graham Slaughter and Jackie Dunham, The Canadian Press and The Associated Press