yorkdale mall

Shoppers flock back to Toronto mall on first day of reopening

As has been the case numerous other times when lockdown restrictions in the GTA have eased (or before they go into effect), malls in and around Toronto were absolutely packed on Wednesday as the province entered Step 2 of its new 3-step reopening plan at 12:01 a.m.

Accounts of bonkers lineups to get into stores and the malls themselves — including as early as 6:30 a.m., well before opening — have abounded on social media, along with general complaints of crowds eager to get their shop on for the first time in months.

It seems that Yorkdale has unsurprisingly been the worst culprit as far as lines and hoardes of shoppers are concerned, with many lending their condolences to anyone who has the misfortune of working there today. 

Malls across Ontario were shuttered yet again on April 8 as part of the blanket emergency brake shutdown, after only having been open in regions such as Toronto and Peel for just one month following the previous bout of lockdown.

Though "non-essential" retailers were permitted to open their doors to customers again when Step 1 of reopening began on June 11, those without their own entrances to outside — so, most stores in malls — had to remain closed.

The new rules for recently-opened shopping centres include 25 per cent capacity limits for stores specializing in "non-essential" goods (the majority of mall stores) and 50 per cent capacity limits for those who sell primarily "essential" goods, a limit on music volume, a moratorium on loitering, and mandated closures of food courts aside from takeout services.

Like in earlier iterations of staged lockdown, many malls have also closed off certain entrances, are screening all customers for COVID-19 symptoms, and are employing apps to help manage lineups and plan shopping trips in advance.

Hopefully, for all of our sake, the bustle will ease once the novelty of these attractions opening up again has worn off in the coming days.

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