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Ailing department store chain wakes up to COVID-19 outbreak and the problems of brick and mortar retail

PMG: FILE PHOTO - On March 17, 2020, Macy's is closing all stores of its three brands nationwide to stem the spread of coronavirus, through March 31.

In response to the widespread COVID-19 outbreak, Macy's today announced that it would temporarily close all stores by the end of business today, March 17, through March 31.

This includes all Macy's, Bloomingdale's, Bluemercury, Macy's Backstage, Bloomingdales the Outlet, and Market by Macy's stores. Macy's, Inc. will provide benefits and compensation to its impacted workforce.

"The health and safety of our customers, colleagues and communities is our utmost priority. As a result of the recent COVID-19 developments, we have decided to temporarily close our stores. We will work with government and health officials to assess when we will reopen our stores and safely bring our colleagues back to work," said Jeff Gennette, chairman and chief executive officer of Macy's, Inc. "During this closure, we will continue to serve our customers through our e-commerce sites."

One week previous, on March 12, Macy's put out a message saying it was dealing with obvious cases of COVID-19, but did not mention the threat of carriers showing now symptoms.

"We are being proactive with our colleagues to both protect their health and provide support for those who develop medical issues related to the virus. We have enacted the Macy's, Inc. COVID-19 Emergency Leave and Pay Policy which ensures that any colleague who is confirmed to be infected with COVID-19 or who is required by the government or Macy's to self-quarantine will receive compensation during that two-week period."

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