York Region malls see massive lines as crowds flock there ahead of lockdown
York Region residents who have reaped the liberties of a slightly less stringent version of pandemic lockdown than Toronto and Peel for the past few weeks were jolted into COVID reality on Friday, when it was announced that they too would be subject to grey-level restrictions as of early Monday morning.
And, it seems that as predicted, the latest announcement for York prompted residents to frantically get their shop on over the weekend while they still had the chance.
Look what you created shutting down york region @fordnation. I can't understand why on monday you have 30 kids eating in a classroom but a small business can't be open. Totally not fair :( pic.twitter.com/PIrqWpNx9H— Rosie (@roosssiiee) December 12, 2020
Would-be shoppers and passersby cited packed parking lots and massive lineups to get into Vaughan Mills, which is only about 30 minutes' drive from Toronto.
If u saw the line outside Vaughan mills today u would think they were giving shit away for free— Pastor Kyle. (@itsqail) December 13, 2020
Pictures and videos show a scene similar to the mall back when it first opened up after the first lockdown in the summer, and more recently on Black Friday, when throngs of people risked infection to get out of the house and hit up their favourite non-essential shops.
Here is the queue outside Vaughan Mills a day before the lockdown. It wasn’t my plan to be here today but 🤷🏻♀️ pic.twitter.com/iRgtKb3XRP— Hanee (@haneebbq) December 14, 2020
The outlet, along with a number of standalone storefronts, extended its hours for the occasion, expecting increased traffic as people sought their last taste of mallgoing freedom for at least 28 days.
Even Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce was spotted doing some PR at the centre just after the news of the impending measures broke.
Tough day to get shoppers to agree to an interview. Some people in this line even refusing to answer my “hello” and some shielding their faces or turning their backs as I walked by after overhearing I was a reporter. No judgement, just sensing more apprehension than usual pic.twitter.com/VoKl2hyNMF— Michelle Mackey (@michellemackey) December 13, 2020
Markville Mall in nearby Markham was likewise teeming, according to accounts on social media, with people waiting in lengthy lineups to in Saturday's rain to enter the premises.
The trend stretched up further northward in the GTA, too, to Richmond Hill's Hillcrest Mall, which was similarly bustling and hectic for the duration of the weekend.
in all my 21 years I have never seen hillcrest mall this busy 😭— 👸🏻 (@___MMYEE) December 13, 2020
York Region and Windsor-Essex will remain in the most severe form of lockdown in the province for at least 28 days, until 12:01 a.m. on January 11.
Toronto and Peel, meanwhile, will be assessed for potential opening after their 28 days in the grey zone are up a week from today.
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