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IKEA Canada closing pick-up and order locations



Five years after they opened, IKEA Canada says it will be closing the doors of its five remaining pick-up and order point locations effective Jan. 29.

The five stores, all located in Ontario, opened in 2015 as part of a global test program aimed at evaluating customer response to new retail formats, according to the Swedish retail giant.

The stores employ about 150 people in Kitchener, London, St. Catharines, Whitby, and Windsor.

A pick-up location had opened in Quebec City as part of the program, but closed in 2018 when a full-size retail store opened in the region.

“Now the global test has concluded and IKEA Canada has made the decision to close its existing Pick-up and Order Point units,” the company said in a statement Monday.

“We appreciate the support we’ve received from these communities over the past several years and we remain committed to serving them in the best possible way.”

IKEA said it would work with impacted employees through the transition to find the “best option” for them, including support to find a new position elsewhere within the company.

“Canada was one of several test countries for the Pick-up and Order Point concept. However the announcement today only surrounds the Canadian units,” said IKEA Canada spokesperson, Kristin Newbigging, via email.

In its statement, the company said it would use insights gathered during the test program to “inform how we continue to evolve and adapt as a business.”

Customers have until Jan. 15 to order a delivery to one of the pick-up and order locations, and until Jan. 29 to pick up a delivery.

IKEA’s future plans for the five municipalities, meanwhile, remain to be seen.

The company had planned to open a full-size retail store in south London by the end of 2019, but put that plan on pause in July 2018 citing a “rapidly changing retail environment.”

Despite the hold, an IKEA spokesperson said at the time that it remained committed to the London market. It’s not clear whether IKEA still plans to open the location. The company has a purchase agreement for the location, near Wellington Road and Hwy. 401.

In 2018, IKEA announced it planned to add small shops to 30 cities around the world. The smaller shops come in three different formats.

IKEA has already added 15 of the smaller stores across 10 city centres around the world, and plans to open one in Toronto within the next two years.

The company has 14 full-size retail stores and 19 collection points across Canada.

— With files from Matthew Trevithick and The Canadian Press

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California orders rolling power outages during heat wave –



California on Friday ordered rolling power outages for the first time since 2011 as a statewide heat wave strained its electrical system.

The California Independent System Operator (California ISO), which manages the power grid, declared an emergency shortly after 6:30 p.m. local time and directed utilities around the state to shed their power loads.

Pacific Gas & Electric, the state’s largest utility, tweeted that it would turn off power to about 200,000 to 250,000 customers in rotating outages for about an hour at a time. Other utilities were told to do the same.

The emergency declaration ended just before 10 p.m. and California ISO said power had been restored statewide.

“Extreme heat is really the driver behind this,” said Anne Gonzales, spokesperson for the power grid operator.

The move came as temperatures around the state rose above 36 C in many areas, and air conditioning use soared.

Cloudy weather from the remnants of a tropical weather system reduced power generation from solar plants, Gonzales said.

Motorists make their way along a road as the Ranch Fire burns on Thursday in Azusa, Calif. Heat wave conditions were making difficult work for fire crews battling brush fires and wildfires across Southern California. (Marcio Jose Sanchez/The Associated Press)

The state tried to prepare for the expected rise in electricity use by urging conservation and buying more power but a high-pressure system building over Western states meant there was less available.

Temperatures and energy use were expected to drop during the evening, and California ISO expected the outages to end at midnight.

The heat wave is expected to last through next week and the power grid operator will decide whether to continue the rolling outages on a day-to-day basis, Gonzales said.

“We’re dealing with weather, clouds, wildfires … these are quickly evolving situations, quickly changing,” Gonzales said.

The last time the state ordered rolling outages was during an energy crisis in 2011. Blackouts occurred several times from January to May, including one that affected more than 1.5 million customers in March.

Power still on in Los Angeles

Counties up and down the state reported scattered outages, although the city of Los Angeles, which has its own power generating system, wasn’t affected.

Police departments warned people to watch out on roads where stoplights were out.

In Sonoma County in the wine country, the Santa Rosa Police Department received a flood of calls and pleaded with residents: “Please do not call 911 unless you have an emergency.”

The heat wave brought dangerously high temperatures, increased wildfire danger and fears of coronavirus spread as people flock to beaches and parks for relief.

Heat records fell in several cities. Downtown San Francisco hit 32 C, topping a high for the date of 30 that was set in 1995. Salinas hit 38 C, breaking the record set just last year. Palm Springs hit just under 49 C, breaking a 2015 record by several degrees.

Sweltering weather was expected to continue into Wednesday across greater Los Angeles, the Central Valley, Sierra Nevada foothills and parts of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Cooling centres

Santa Clara, Alameda and Contra Costa counties opened cooling centres that will welcome people this weekend from the afternoon to the early evening. San Francisco officials said the city is recommending people stay home and that if the heat indoors gets intolerable to go outside to a shady place where they can stay cool and distant from other people.

“Congregate indoor sites are not safe necessarily during COVID-19. It is better to follow other instructions during this heat wave,” said Mary Ellen Carroll, executive director of the Department of Emergency Management.

Carroll encouraged residents to check on family, friends and neighbours, especially older adults and those in frail health, and reminded people to always wear a face mask when in the vicinity of people who don’t share their household.

“We know it’s going to be beautiful out this weekend but we just want everyone to remember that we are in a very serious response to this COVID-19 virus.”

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Galaxy Cinemas reopens doors in Prince Albert – paNOW



In terms of what someone can expect when they go to a movie this weekend, or in the coming weeks, is a number of COVID-19 related safety protocols including additional signage at the door, enhanced cleaning, reserved seating, and every other row of seating will be vacant.

“You’ll have no one sitting in front of you, no one sitting beside you, and there will be usually three seats on either side of you that will also be vacant,” Van Lange said. “So it might take a little longer to get to your seat but once you are in your seat, the magic of the big screen is still there.”

For the time being movie goers are encouraged to buy their tickets online or through the Cineplex app. Van Lange said people can still buy tickets at the concession if required.

Another key part of the theatre experience is the food, and Van Lange said most serving protocols already were in line with COVID-19 precautions.

“The handling of cash and the handling of food, all of those heath and safety features, were already in place pre-pandemic so there wasn’t a lot of tweaks with respect to food service,” she said.

The movies

With the opening Friday, the first movies to play at Galaxy Cinemas are the Spongebob movie, Unhinged starring Russell Crowe, and Inception, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary.

“Its an important day because it’s the first time in five months we’re seeing new releases back on the big screen,” Van Lange said.

To date there are 136 Cineplex locations open across Canada. The remainder are expected to be open by next week.

On Twitter: @nigelmaxwell

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3 new COVID-19 outbreaks declared in Calgary | CTV News – CTV Toronto



Three new COVID-19 outbreaks were declared in Calgary on Friday, including 13 cases being reported from a private gathering, five cases at a Cargill meat processing facility and five at a childcare centre in the southwest.

An outbreak was also declared in the community of Fort Mackay in northeastern Alberta, with five cases being reported at CNRL Albian.

Alberta Health Services would not comment on where or when the private gathering was held but said of the 13 cases, nine are considered active and four recovered.

Five active cases were reported at the Cargill plant in the 0-100 block of Freeport Way N.E. 

Two active cases and three recovered cases were reported at Fledglings Educare Centre in the 1100 block of Canterbury Drive S.W.

An outbreak is declared in acute and long-term care facilities when there are two or more cases, and in a community setting when there are five or more cases. The outbreak is considered over when four weeks passes without any new cases being declared.

A total of 84 new cases were reported by the province on Friday, with 20 of those in the Calgary Zone and 52 in the Edmonton Zone.

There are now 12,053 cases of COVID-19 in Alberta, with 1,036 of those active and 10,796 recovered. There are 48 people in hospital with 13 of those in ICU.

One additional death was reported Friday, bringing the provincial total at 221.

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