Two of Cadillac Fairview’s Calgary malls are set to open their doors to the public on May 14, as Stage 1 of the Alberta coronavirus relaunch begins.
The province’s Stage 1 relaxes current public health rules, providing a framework for many retail and service business to open.
One of the areas in question is how the opening of shopping malls would be handled. The question of defining shopping malls, and where they would fall in the guidelines, came up in the province’s May 11 coronavirus briefing.
“We have very detailed guidance for all workplaces, that’s applicable in all settings, so that would apply to shopping malls,” said Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw.
“It would apply to retail businesses, it would apply to any of these specific sites or sectors that we now have some additional guidance for.”
Hinshaw said that shopping malls would be able to access the workplace guidelines and apply the rules for that setting.
Chinook Centre, Market Mall reopening
Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi first hinted at the opening of the Cadillac Fairview-owned Market Mall and CF Chinook Centre, Monday during a Strategic Meeting of Council.
Vice President of Operations for Cadillac Fairview Cam Gresko, confirmed that both Calgary locations will be opening as part of Calgary’s stage 1 coronavirus relaunch.
“Subject to any changes from the provincial government, we are preparing to reopen on May 14th, ” he said.
Cadillac Fairview recently released a document outlining some of their re-opening procedures and safety guidelines they would follow.
The document outlines that stores will be offering limited operation hours, Monday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The malls will also follow procedures to ensure physical distancing measures. They will control access to the mall to limit the number and density of shoppers.
They will also create one-way traffic through common areas. Specified “entrance only” and “exit only” doors will help them monitor mall traffic flow.
Some mall vendors unsure about their immediate return
This unexpected update comes as a surprise to some CF mall workers who had no idea of the opening.
Market Mall Deville Coffee barista, Qassim Merali, was taken by surprise on the news of reopening.
“I actually had no idea we were opening back up. It’s good to hear but I don’t know what that means to me,” he said
Merali hopes to see some signifiant health measures in place before retuning to work.
Deville Coffee cut staff hours before the mall closure, Merali said. He expects the same staff numbers to return in the early days of re-opening.
“I think we went down to just one other worker and myself just before we closed down. I would expect that same amount of staff to come back as they reopen,” Merali said.
Retailers need specific rules to reopen
In the May 11 briefing, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said shopping malls would need to pay attention to areas that other operations don’t have, like food courts.
The Cadillac Fairview document shows that the dining hall will reopen, but won’t offer reusable items. Dining hall seating will also be rearranged and food court clients will need to have distancing for food lines.
Aside from that, much of it is making sure common sense, general guidelines are applied, said Dr. Hinshaw.
“If somebody is coughing and sneezing on the goods, then that person may say, ‘no, I’m sorry you need to leave the store, you should go home,’” she said
Dr. Hinshaw said some of the responsibility is on the community shoppers to uphold public health.
“I think this is an encouragement for all of us to remember to reinforce the social norms with each other that if we’re sick, we should not go out,” she said.
“It is not expected that in a retail store, there’d be someone with a thermometer checking temperatures at the door.”