vaughan mills

People worried about rush of shoppers at Vaughan Mills before mall closes for lockdown

The GTA just received the dreaded news that York Region will officially be joining Toronto and Peel in grey-level lockdown, and residents are now fearing the worst for the area's malls in the coming days, including Markville, Upper Canada and the ever-bustling Vaughan Mills.

The province of Ontario made the announcement on Friday afternoon that non-essential retail stores, bars and restaurants, gyms and other businesses in York and Windsor-Essex will have to shut down in-person operations starting at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 14.

Given how many customers have turned out and lined up for hours to get a chance to shop at Vaughan Mills and other centres that have remained open in the Toronto area in recent weeks, people are expecting that the weekend will be extremely hectic at the shopping attraction.

Vaughan Mills saw massive crowds that started gathering before it even opened on Black Friday last month, and citizens have generally been pretty nervous about the crowds there since Toronto and Peel entered severe lockdown on Nov. 23.

Despite the fact that municipal and provincial officials have urged the population not to region-hop and to only leave the house for "essential" trips, residents of the two urban centres have indeed been flocking to neighbouring communities to do basic things they can't do in their home city lately, such as dine at a restaurant or shop at a store for anything more than grocery items.

Numerous businesses in the Vaughan outlet have been ticketed over the past few weeks for not adhering to COVID-19 health and safety rules, and many shoppers have stated on social media that in their experience, the mall has been extremely packed lately, hitting capacity quite early on in the day.

With just two days until the mall is shuttered for at least 28 days amid peak holiday shopping season and patrons only finding out about the impending Monday morning closure today, who knows how busy it will get.

Hopefully the announcement for York doesn't mean the worst for Toronto: that its interlude in the most stringent form of pandemic shutdown will indeed be extended beyond the initial 28-day period, which is set to expire on Dec. 21. 

The move would certainly be met with tons of backlash from citizens and businesses who are already fighting back against the measures, especially seeing as the latest virus case stats are proving that the lockdown has not yet led to decreased infection numbers.

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