The designer outlet mall that shares a road into Richmond with the airport has parking space for 2,000 cars and the lineups to get in and out were bumper-to-bumper. Crowds were light at a nearby traditional mall at the same time
Boxing Day may have lost some of its drawing power from its hey day when retailers were loathe to offer pre-Christmas deals, but the promise of hefty discounts still drew big crowds to at least one outlet mall on Thursday.
Shoppers driving to the McArthurGlen Designer Outlet mall clogged the bridges and roads leading on to Sea Island, forcing Vancouver International Airport to warn travellers to give themselves lots of time if driving to catch their flights.
“We anticipate heavy congestion and those travelling to and from the airport by road should expect delays,” said YVR’s website. The airport said 90,000 travellers would fly in or out of YVR on Thursday.
Similar scenes were found at Tsawwassen Mills, with traffic backed up well down Hwy. 17 on Thursday.
McArthurGlen expected 50,000 shoppers for its biggest shopping day of the year, which is more than triple the 15,000 it gets on a typical weekend, said spokeswoman Ally Day.
The mall opened at 8 a.m. and there was a lineup at 6 a.m., she said. Mid-morning, it took one motorist 45 minutes to park, and cars were bumper-to-bumper heading in and out of the lot.
The mall hired 25 parking attendants to control the steady lineup for the 2,000 spots and put up digital signage to help direct shoppers.
Sepideh Kassaian, who was at the back of a line of about 80 people for one shop, was optimistic it wasn’t going to take long for her to get to the front.
“It’s moving fast,” said Kassaian, who had arrived at the mall at 9 a.m. to buy some clothes for her and her son and hopefully a wallet.
She was expecting a 50 per cent discount but said it wasn’t about the savings.
“The deals aren’t that great, but it’s the concept. We don’t really celebrate Christmas, to be honest, so it’s more of a fun thing, to get out and say I went to the Boxing Day sale,” she said.
Anita Bujoni, who is from Paris, bought a pair of pants for her boyfriend said that in Europe you normally have to wait until January for sales.
“We don’t have Boxing Day,” she said. “I wanted to experience Boxing Day sales.”
Day said Boxing Day still beats out Black Friday — which drew 35,000 shoppers in November — as McArthurGlen’s busiest day because in Canada, unlike the U.S., most people are at work on Black Friday.
They were few signs of a post-Christmas shopping frenzy at Oakridge Centre on Thursday.
Online sales may be hurting in-person sales, said Arshad Auyb, at the Cellicon kiosk, which sells mobile phone accessories.
By 11 a.m., he’d had only five customers since the 8 a.m. opening, “so far, not as much as we expected.”
“We are expecting they will come in the late afternoon,” said his colleague, Mohmad Akram.
Michelle To, who went to Oakridge specifically to get some Christmas decorations on sale, said she thought the crowds were light.
She browsed a bit but she wasn’t after any blockbuster deals at Oakridge or at Richmond Centre that she had visited earlier without buying anything.
For the mother of two young children, the mall outing was more of a chance for a respite from Christmas duties.
“I just needed to get out of the house,” she said.
ByteDance plans TikTok IPO if U.S. clears deal: sources – Yahoo Canada Finance
NEW YORK (Reuters) – China’s ByteDance is planning a U.S. initial public offering of TikTok Global, the new company that will operate the popular short video app, should their proposed deal be cleared by the White House, people familiar with the matter said on Thursday.
The filing of an IPO for TikTok Global, in which Oracle Corp <ORCL.N> would also own a stake, would be on a U.S. stock exchange and could come in about a year, the sources said, requesting anonymity because the matter is confidential.
ByteDance and Oracle did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
(Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco and Echo Wang in New York; Editing by Chris Reese)
Commerce Dept. issues order prohibiting WeChat, TikTok dealings – MarketWatch
The U.S. Commerce Department said Friday it is prohibiting transactions involving Tencent’s
WeChat and Bytedance’s TikTok. “While the threats posed by WeChat and TikTok are not identical, they are similar. Each collects vast swaths of data from users, including network activity, location data, and browsing and search histories,” the release said. As of Sept. 20, any provision of service to distribute or maintain the WeChat or TikTok mobile applications, constituent code, or application updates through an online mobile application store in the U.S. is barred, as is any provision of services through the WeChat mobile application for the purpose of transferring funds or processing payments within the U.S. The order makes no mention of the Oracle
deal with TikTok but said “the President has provided until November 12 for the national security concerns posed by TikTok to be resolved.”
COVID-19 medical coverage now available even though Canadians advised to avoid international travel – CBC.ca
Canadians yearning to travel abroad — despite the COVID-19 pandemic — can now get medical insurance to cover costs if they get sick with the coronavirus while travelling.
In March, when the virus began its global spread and Canada advised against non-essential travel abroad, travel insurance providers stopped selling COVID-19 medical coverage.
Now, several insurance providers have resumed offering the coverage along with their regular travel insurance plans.
Air Canada, WestJet, Sunwing and travel agency Flight Centre have also joined in, offering free COVID-19 medical coverage to passengers booking certain international flights and vacation packages.
Travel insurance broker Martin Firestone said he’s surprised by the spate of offers — considering Canada’s advisory against international travel remains intact due to the ongoing pandemic.
“Your country is now currently under a Level 3 travel advisory, and you’ve got airlines enticing people with free medical coverage,” said Firestone with Travel Secure in Toronto.
“Whether you have coverage or not, you may be in a very precarious position with [available] hospital beds and treatment and the ability to be flown back to Canada.”
Many companies providing COVID-19 coverage told CBC News they’re responding to consumer demand.
“People are looking to travel,” said Richard Job, Flight Centre’s vice-president of commercial partnership. “They are able to travel if they want to, and we just want to enable that to take place as safely as we can.”
International travellers returning to Canada must self-isolate for 14 days.
WATCH | The future of air travel:
Who’s offering coverage?
Manulife announced this week it will start offering the coverage in October.
The plans vary. For example, not all providers cover daily expenses if an infected traveller is forced to quarantine abroad.
Each company said it offers medical coverage for all ailments, including COVID-19, for up to $5 million — with the exception of Manulife, which has capped COVID-19 coverage at $200,000.
Manulife declined to comment on the cap.
Airline industry offering free coverage
Flight Centre and the airlines are providing free coverage only for COVID-19 illnesses and related expenses, such as accommodation costs while being quarantined. The offers are available for a limited time — ranging from the next seven months to a year.
Customers booking vacation packages with Flight Centre, Air Canada Vacations and WestJet to select destinations — which exclude the United States — are covered for up to $100,000 in medical bills. WestJet provides the same coverage for international flights, excluding the U.S.
Sunwing will cover up to $200,000 in COVID-19 medical expenses for passengers booking any of its vacation packages and flights departing on or after Oct. 16. Air Canada (which is separate from Air Canada Vacations) currently provides the same $200,000 coverage for customers purchasing international fights, including to the U.S.
Although the Canada-U.S. land border is closed to non-essential traffic, Canadians can still fly to the U.S.
Firestone questions if $200,000 would be enough to cover a severe case of COVID-19 in the U.S., where medical costs can run high.
“What if the bill is $500,000?” he said. “Then it becomes your problem.”
Manulife, which is partnering with Air Canada to provide the coverage, declined to comment.
Air Canada said that passengers wanting extra protection can consider purchasing an extensive travel insurance plan.
What about snowbirds?
Medipac’s main customers are snowbirds heading to the southern U.S. where the COVID-19 infection rate remains high. But the insurance provider said it’s confident it won’t be bombarded with COVID-19 claims, because Medipac’s clientele will likely play it safe.
“The people that we’re tailoring our product to are going to do what they’ve always done, travel down as a couple, go to their winter residence,” said Medipac spokesperson Christopher Davidge.
“We’re not talking about cramming into a discount airline … and staying at a resort hotel and going to a theme park.”
Snowbird Perry Cohen said he and his wife, Rose, plan to take all necessary precautions when they likely head to their condo this winter in Deerfield Beach, Fla., near Fort Lauderdale.
“Our community is pretty safe,” said Cohen, who lives in Toronto. “We’re not going to look for large crowds. We’re not running to the bars and the restaurants.”
Even so, Cohen said COVID-19 coverage is a game changer because he and his wife would never consider heading south if they couldn’t purchase it.
“Why take the risk?” he said. “I like a complete package to know I’m looked after.”
Cases ‘going up again’
But not all eager travellers will be swayed by COVID-19 coverage.
Avid international traveller Suzanne Chojnacki said she and her husband will stay put for now because they still have many concerns — such as getting stuck abroad if the country they’re visiting suddenly closes its borders.
“The [COVID-19 case] numbers are going up again,” said Chojnacki who lives in Richmond Hill, Ont. “So it’s really not a good time to think about going away — for us.”
Current plans offering travellers COVID-19 coverage don’t include compensation if a customer cancels a trip due to the pandemic. Firestone said that’s because cancellation insurance typically covers unexpected mishaps, not a “known” issue such as the coronavirus.
“It’s just so known, it’s not even funny.”
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