vaughan mills

People worried about crowds at Vaughan Mills now that malls in Toronto are closed

With just a few weeks left until the holidays, malls and non-essential stores in Toronto and Peel have been shuttered for at least 28 days, save for those retailers who can offer curbside pickup and delivery services, as a part of another round of rigorous pandemic lockdown.

Because of the mass closures, residents who live outside of the two hotspots are now rightfully a bit worried that people will be travelling to their more unbarred regions to do things like go to bars, restaurants and shopping centres.

Of particular concern are nearby malls like Markville and Vaughan Mills, which are still fully operational and very easily accessible from the city.

Like supermarkets and other stores in southern Ontario over the weekend, the Vaughan, Ontario retail hub saw massive throngs lining up and navigating stores as customers anticipated Toronto and Peel's official entrance into the Grey-Lockdown zone at 12:01 a.m. on Monday.

It was an echo of when the facility was permitted to reopen back in June days before malls in Toronto, which likewise prompted people to travel outside of their home region to make unnecessary purchases, and some fear it will only get worse.

Vaughan Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua is among those politicans from Toronto-area municipalities who are entreating people in the province not to "region-hop," also asking those stores that are still open to the public not to hold in-person Black Friday sales to mitigate overcrowding and thus potential virus spread.

"Such sales would inevitably produce crowd scenes which would only serve to undermine the fight against COVID-19 and negate the sacrifices being made by so many, including other businesses," 11 GHTA officials wrote in an open letter today.

"The Mayors and Chairs urge people to shop online and to support local retailers through internet shopping and the curbside pickup option... Staying home and avoiding gatherings should be the order of the day whenever possible."

Fueling alarm is the fact that Vaughan Mills has had a number of infections among its employees lately, including as recently as Nov. 9, Nov. 12 and Nov. 20, when letters were sent to tenants about workers on the premises testing positive for the communicable disease.

Many are wondering how such large, bustling centres that lend themselves to congestion can remain open, especially when they are such a short drive away from locked down regions with higher case numbers.

Vaughan Mills is only a half an hour trek from Toronto's downtown core, and was actually trending on Twitter over the weekend as people investigated their options for hitting up stores in-person in the coming days. 

Areas as far as Niagara are already preparing for out-of-towners to flock to their still-open stores, especially leading up to Christmas, Boxing Day and other peak times for shopping.

As dire as the situation may be right now, citizens have managed to find a bit of humour in the situation, with someone even launching a Vaughan Mills parody account on Twitter to poke fun at (and shame) those who plan to flood the malls that are still open.

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