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Close the schools, make me wait in line outside the liquor store, forbid me to host a dinner party, but don’t expect me to do without my smartphone.
That seemed to be the message at the newly reopened Halifax Shopping Centre on Thursday, virtually deserted except for a lineup at the Apple store.
Stephanie Gail, who drove in to the city from Windsor to do some shopping, said it was a wasted trip.
“I don’t think there’s much point in it being open, because nothing’s open inside. I would think, with the rent and stuff, it’s hard for places like this to keep going because nothing’s open and they’re not bringing in revenue,” said Gail, who described the mall as a “ghost town.”
“There are specific stores open but if you just came to look, or buy a pair of shoes or something, stores like that aren’t open,” said Gail, who estimated about half the people in the shopping centre were wearing masks.
The few stores that were open, including Foot Locker, Little Burgundy, Second Cup, Envy and Showcase, had bottles of hand sanitizer and signage saying you needed a mask to enter, or telling how many people would be allowed in at once.
Throughout the mall, there were directional arrows on the floor and signs reminding shoppers to stay two metres apart.
The food court was closed, with chairs upside down on tables and seating areas roped off with yellow caution tape.
The only visible employees in the food court were at Tim Hortons, and they said they’d be reopening on Tuesday.
At Mic Mac Mall, it hasn’t been the usual experience for shoppers the last couple of months, but the mall itself did not actually close at all.
“The government of Nova Scotia did not mandate mall closures, so we have remained open and provided access to those retailers who have remained open, mainly essential service retailers,” said general manager Tamitha Oakley. “We are seeing more stores open this week, with Hudson’s Bay as well as some other retailers opening (Thursday) and more next week.”
Stores in the mall’s food court remain closed.
Some stores at Mayflower Mall in Sydney are to open on Friday, with hand sanitizer at the entrances, social distancing directions and “personal hygiene guidance posted in all restrooms.”
On Thursday, doors were locked but employees were in the stores.
P.E.I, Cape Breton, Newfoundland and Labrador
Friday is also opening day at Confederation Court Mall in Charlottetown.
“We look forward to seeing all of our friends and clients once again,” said Peter Norton of Norton’s Jewellers, which has been in business for 45 years, and closed on March 17.
“It'll be nice to have everyone back at work, and I think our team is looking forward to being back at work,” he said. "We're very lucky to be able to (reopen) because we have COVID-19 under control on Prince Edward Island.”
Reopening also means the store has to adopt certain practices to keep staff and customers safe. These include social distancing as well as disinfecting the store before it opens each day, and jewelry items will be disinfected after someone tries on an item.”
Jewelry dropped off for repair won’t be handled for at least 72 hours before a staff member will work on it.
The 60-tenant mall’s reopening is part of the province's phase two Renew P.E.I. Together plan.
Besides retail outlets, other businesses that can reopen under phase two include barber shops and hairdressers, greenhouses, car washes and bottle depots.
Going to the mall isn’t in the cards yet in Newfoundland and Labrador, and won’t be for at least a couple of weeks. Malls in the province would be allowed to reopen, with restrictions, at Alert Level 3. The province is currently at Level 4. The earliest date for a move to Level 3 is June 8.