leons furniture

Leon's and The Brick staying open during pandemic despite being non-essential

As non-essential businesses close their doors to the public across the country — some by choice and some by order of their provincial government — residents are noticing that a few select companies are still remaining open despite not providing necessary products or services.

Leon's, the Canadian furniture retailer that operates 205 stores across every province of the country under the banners of Leon's and The Brick, still has a number of locations open and people are wondering why.

Home furnishings aren't exactly an essential good right now, and the premiers of both Ontario and Quebec — where some Leon's stores are still open and serving the public — have already mandated that all non-essential businesses must shut down for at least two weeks in the former province and three in the latter. (And other provinces are considering doing the same.)

Though Leon's did make the decision on Wednesday to close 72 of its stores and lay off around half of its current workforce, it seems to have done so mostly due to a drastic decline in customers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

And, more concerningly, some outlets are planning to stay open, even in the provinces where they are technically among the businesses that have been instructed to close.

Though a number of Ontario locations of both Leon's and The Brick have already completely closed to the public or are operating via pickup and delivery only, others are still very much open, though some of them are unsure for how long after Wednesday.

Select Leon's locations in the GTA — such as those in Scarborough, Newmarket and Concord — are open until further notice, but operating "on daily basis instructions" and on reduced hours.

Others in Brampton, Burlington and Whitby are, at the time of publication, definitively staying open despite the other Leon's closures (also on reduced hours).

The Brick locations at Dufferin and Dupont in Toronto and Kennedy and 401 in Scarborough are also not among the 72 stores closing down and will remain open, according to staff on-site on Wednesday.

A page about the coronavirus situation on the company website ensures that "enhanced store cleaning measures" are currently in place, which include daily sanitizing.

The statement goes on to say: "We understand that while not everything we provide is a necessity, we also recognize that there are certain products that are essential to operating a household."

Similar furniture and homeware brand IKEA made the decision to shut down all locations in Canada a week ago for the safety of customers and employees given the high-touch nature of its stores. The Brick and Leon's are known for similar showrooms where shoppers can try out a couches, mattresses and more.

It is unclear how long the stores will be able to keep their doors open, but businesses who defy orders under the Health Protection and Promotion Act in Ontario can face fines of up to $25,000 per day.

Lead photo by

Raysonho/Wikimedia Commons

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