With strict lockdown and curfew restrictions in place in some provinces, there’s been a lot of demand for common household items. No better example of this are the line-ups that have started forming around Dollarama stores throughout the province. The retail chain store sells a wide range of products, from kitchenware and bathroom accessories, to pantry items, pet food and cleaning supplies. But the discount retailer, which is a staple shopping destination to many, recently made headlines for failing to meet adequate standards of hygiene in certain stores in a few provinces.
In Quebec, the province’s workplace safety board, CNESST, fined nine store locations for not following proper sanitary guidelines. The nature of the violations were not specified. The stores fined were in the regions of Gaspésie, Valleyfield, Saint-Jean-sur-le-Richelieu, Saguenay, Quebec City and Yamaska. Since the start of the pandemic in March, Dollarama has received 124 “correction notices” from CNESST.
In New Brunswick, Public Health officials shut down nine stores temporarily, after one employee tested positive for the virus. The stores affected were located between Oromocto and Edmundston, and were closed for 48 hours between January 13 - 15.
Public Health has ordered nine Dollarama stores located between Oromocto and Edmundston closed for 48 hours due to a possible workplace exposure to COVID-19.
— Government of NB (@Gov_NB) January 14, 2021
The move came “out of an abundance of caution,” according to a tweet from the Government of New Brunswick. The stores affected were reopened after a deep cleaning.
The news has created dialogue on social media about what makes Dollarama an essential service.
Dollarama has very few food aisles & one health products aisle & one pet section. It would be quite easy for them to close off all other aisles to prevent the extensive "browsing" that occurs while customers pick up a few grocery/pet/health items.
— CanadaMaiden😷🇨🇦 (@MaidenCanadian) January 15, 2021
@fordnation why are Dollarama and Walmart and other open for shopping of non essentials. At the very least shut these coved spreading centres down. You are still killing people. #FordFailedThePeople #fordfailedthepeople https://t.co/qhBKy9Y06D
— Loon (@Loon81083046) January 15, 2021
Dollarama is not an essential business! (Not for tree ornaments, anyhow 🤣)
— Face of Boaz Cosplay ఌ︎ (@FaceOfBoaz) January 15, 2021
I really wish the province would get its language straight on what is and what isn’t deemed “essential”. I needed painters tape (green masking) staples wouldn’t sell it to me though they would sell packing tape, and dollarama had it available no problem.
— Lisa (@MsBehavior) January 15, 2021
I had to go out yesterday. Everything was open. Metro, wine store, dollarama. Found out we have a new pot store in the neighbourhood...so that was good to know.
— JackieContest (@ContestJean) January 15, 2021
if no one got me i know dollarama got me
— chaotic ugly (@daddyllea) January 15, 2021
I actually think Dollarama is essential for some. They do sell pantry food items, cleaning supplies, and personal care items. Not everyone can afford grocery store prices, esp if no discount grocery nearby.
— Deborah (@Debba1c) January 15, 2021
If a district manager, then maybe Dollarama shouldn't have them traveling to stores during the orange phase. Meet with your team's virtually, have them walk the store on video chat.
— Angela Price (@angboydprice) January 14, 2021
Lyla Radmanovich, a spokeswoman with Dollarama, says the retail chain has been recognized as an essential business since early on in the pandemic.
“We offer proximity, and accessibility to a wide range of affordable products similar to those sold in pharmacies and groceries stores and which remain in high demand across all retailers, thereby helping to alleviate the pressure on supply chains for certain goods,” she tells Yahoo Canada.
Radmanovich ensures that preventative measures are in place in accordance with the directives of public health officials, including frequent in-store cleaning and disinfecting procedures, hygiene and respiratory practices, the use of PPE and a broad variety of physical distancing measures.
“We have continued to adapt to evolving government-mandated measures such as restricting the sale of non-essential goods in our stores in Manitoba and Quebec since late 2020, and also ensuring strict in-store capacity limits as required in various jurisdictions,” she says.