lime ridge mall

Hamilton mall extends hours for shoppers coming in from York Region and Toronto

Ostensibly expecting of a surge of shoppers heading in from now-shuttered York Region, as well as from Toronto and Peel, one GTHA shopping centre has decided to extend its operating hours.

Hamilton's Lime Ridge Mall, a Cadillac Fairview facility less than an hour's drive from downtown T.O., issued a notice to its stores on Monday — the first of York Region's 28 days under the most drastic form of Ontario's pandemic restrictions — stating that hours were being immediately changed to "help spread out traffic and allow more time for visitors to shop safely."

It did not explicitly state that it was accommodating shoppers from other regions, but the timing seems telling.

Lime Ridge's usual hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays.

But leading up to the holidays, the centre will be open from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. daily until Dec. 23, as well as 9 a.m. to an unconfirmed time on Christmas Eve (the website lists it as 5 p.m., while the latest press release is incomplete) and 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Boxing Day.

Hours over the following days will be 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Dec. 27, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on the 28th to the 30th, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on New Year's Eve.

Hamilton is currently in the Red-Control zone of the province's reopening framework, only one step laxer than York, Toronto, Peel and Windsor-Essex, which are in Grey-Lockdown.

In the red zone, retailers must perform COVID-19 screening on all patrons entering their doors, people in lineups both indoors and out must be spaced two metres apart, and mall food courts much heed a limit of 10 people at a time.

Hamilton Public Health had also issued its own restrictions on stores earlier this month, including reduced capacities based on square footage to ensure physical distancing.

Indoor dining at bars and restaurants is still permitted, with a maximum of 10 people indoors and 25 outdoors per establishment, as well as four people per table and a 9 p.m. last call and 10 p.m. closing time, among other measures from earlier levels.

Other nearby regions currently in the red zone include Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph, Waterloo, Halton, Simcoe Muskoka, and Durham, while those east of Durham — including Peterborough, Kingston, and Haliburton areas — are in the much lesser Yellow-Protect zone, and most of those west and south of Hamilton — including Huron Perth, Haldimand-Norfolk, and Niagara — are in Orange-Restrict.

Toronto and Peel are due to be re-assessed for potential reopening as soon as 12:01 on Dec. 21, which is 28 days after we entered the grey zone.

Meanwhile, York and Windsor-Essex will remain in stringent lockdown until at least Jan. 11.

Lead photo by

Mohamed Ramadan/Google

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