doug ford malls

Doug Ford gets mad about people going to malls after allowing malls to stay open

Folks, just because you're legally allowed to go into malls doesn't mean that you should go into malls — especially not for the purpose of "doing a little wander around" and leaving without shopping bags.

I mean, if you're going to literally risk your life by entering the jam-packed Yorkdale Shopping Centre or Eaton Centre amid a pandemic, you should at the very least stimulate the economy while you're at it.

This is just common sense, or so it appears to be in the eyes of Ontario Premier Doug Ford, who on Tuesday went off on the many people who flocked to malls in and around Toronto this past weekend, as they were fully permitted to do under existing lockdown rules.

Ford admonished eager mallgoers this afternoon during a press conference when he was asked if another stay-at-home order is on the way for Ontario.

The premier did reveal that "further restrictions" would be handed down "very very quickly" in response to accelerating rates of COVID-19 transmission and variants of concern, but stopped short of saying what the new rules would be.

"Well, we'll discuss that tomorrow," said Ford when asked about whether or not he'd implement another new stay-at-home order (like the one that was just lifted for Toronto on March 8) as requested by multiple medical officers of health.

Then, he launched into a tirade about how "jam packed" shopping centres had been this past weekend, during which a new provincewide emergency break shutdown had also come into effect.

"What I saw is the same thing you saw, a lot of people saw, you know, you go by Yorkdale, you couldn't get a parking space, it was absolutely jam packed," said Ford, who has no doubt seen the now-viral images of crowds at the popular mall on Saturday and Sunday.

"I truly was hoping that people wouldn't be going in there to the volume that we saw," said Ford.

"Folks, this variant is taking off, and please, when you can, follow all protocols. Make sure when you can, stay at home, we understand you've got to get out, get fresh air. God bless ya, but do it responsibly."

As many on Twitter are now pointing out in the wake of Ford's comments, consumers weren't necessarily being irresponsible on purpose by going to malls this weekend: Current shutdown rules still permit shopping centres to operate at 25 per cent capacity.

Despite the fact that his own government had given malls their blessing to stay open during the latest four-week-long shutdown, Ford took aim at shoppers who attended places such as Yorkdale without what he considered valid reasons.

"A lot of people were going into the malls and doing their little wander around and coming out with no bags," said the premier on Tuesday.

"So that tells me they're just out for an evening or a daily jaunt. You can't do that."

But you can, technically speaking, which is why people are a bit annoyed by Ford's annoyance with crowds at malls.

It's important to note that all of Ontario is currently under the strictest level of lockdown possible under the government's current COVID-19 response framework.

Even in this level, malls are allowed to stay open with strict health and safety measures in place. This does not make them an essential service, however, according to Ford.

"Going to the malls is not essential," said the premier on Tuesday.  "What's essential is going to buy food, going to buy medicine out of the pharmacies and getting your vaccines."

It's safe to say we're all a bit confused at this point after watching restrictions flip and flop and flip back in Toronto for months now.

It is expected that Ford's next announcement regarding lockdown rules will clarify the whole shopping mall situation — though we don't yet know if the rules will apply to all of Ontario or just hot spot regions like Toronto, York and Peel.

People are mad about Ford getting mad about malls regardless.

"Doug Ford yelling at Ontarians for going to malls that are open because Doug Ford wanted them open is the most Doug Ford shit possible," wrote one Ontario resident in response to Ford's Tuesday rant.

"We've reached peak Doug Ford."

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