Empire Company Limited's latest response to the COVID-19 pandemic includes a plan to support its 13,000 smaller supplier partners.
Sobeys' parent company announced Thursday it would shorten its payment terms and automatically pay suppliers, including local farmers, fisheries and waste collection companies, within 14 days.
Additionally, for two months starting April 1, Empire is waiving rent for all small business tenants in its owned mall properties.
"From our family to yours, we are committed to easing the anxiety of these uncertain times for you," the company said in a statement announcing the payment plan. "We truly appreciate everything you are doing to help our front-line store teams provide essential support to our Canadian families, friends and neighbours, and we look forward to coming out of this challenging time together with you."
READ: Sobeys installs Plexiglas shields to fight spread of COVID-19
In recent weeks, Empire installed Plexiglas shields at cash registers to protect customers and staff from the virus, added floor markers to queuing areas to help customers maintain proper social distancing of two metres apart and adjusted its store hours to allow for increased cleaning at its Safeway and Sobeys banners.
Sobeys has also increased hourly wages by $2 until May 2.