The popular Swedish home furnishings chain announced the news on March 18, saying in a public statement that the move is an attempt to “support social distancing efforts based on recommendations from local health authorities.”
“Our communities are working hard to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and to support these efforts, we will temporarily close all stores to customers until further notice,” the release reads.
The store had been ramping up cleaning and sanitization measures as the COVID-19 situation has worsened, but many residents pointed out that its interactive showrooms are, by nature, very conducive to the spread of germs and viruses. (People trying out IKEA display beds is not exactly out of the ordinary.)
Though the store does have food offerings, and some could argue that it’s pretty vital — I mean, what else do people have to do right now but wander IKEA, plan their dream home and assemble some cheap furniture? — it sadly is not, in fact, an essential service during our current state of emergency and its indefinite shuttering is for the safety of us all.
The chain’s thousands of employees from its 14 stores nationwide will be put on temorary paid leave, and its online store will remain open.
The retailer joins at least a dozen other stores including Nordstrom, Sephora, Nike, Urban Outfitters, Aritzia and Lush that have voluntarily closed their doors to the public to help prevent community spread of the novel virus.