I stepped foot into Burnaby’s biggest mall – Metropolis at Metrotown – on Friday afternoon and had mixed feelings about what I saw.
Many of the stores have reopened slowly, but some are still closed. No Victoria’s Secret shopping for me that day. What happens with shopping malls is a big part of what happens to B.C.’s economy moving forward.
The big question is how many shoppers will come back. Many stay away due to health concerns, while others have lost their job and have had to cut back expenses.
The mall management and the stores that are open are doing an excellent job, based on what I saw on Friday.
It’s the shoppers that were too clueless for words.
Oh, sure, some that were going into specific stores were generally, but not always, standing on the marks on the mall’s floor as they waited to be allowed inside. Then again, how hard is it to stand on a sticker? My friend was there to get some much-needed at the Apple store (surprisingly, the Microsoft store was still closed) and I’ve never seen it that empty before. There were plenty of shoppers lined up, but thankfully only a few were allowed inside at a time.
So good for the stores and the mall management.
But you shoppers need to get your heads on straight.
There were a lot of people not wearing masks, which was annoying because why not use an extra layer of precaution when going inside a building.
The bigger issue was people walking through the mall like they had never heard the words “COVID-19” or “pandemic” before. People were charging around and not even attempting to avoid others. People were coughing without turning their heads into their elbows. People had their heads buried into their phones and were bumping into others. It was infuriating.
But don’t just take my word for it.
The best part of my entire trip was transit; I took the train. People were very respectful and allowing space between one another. People were actually waiting for others to get off the train. It was lovely. And I missed not having to think about driving! 😂— Ria Renouf 🏵️🌺 (@riarenouf) May 30, 2020
Ria Renouf, ace journalist with News 1130 radio, tweeted her thoughts about visiting Metrotown on the same day as I did.
“What stuck out to me was the # of people who will suddenly stop walking, impacting the space between you & the next person. Same goes for texters/walkers. Those days are gone. If you need to text you need to step aside (which you should've already been doing in the first place). I was surprised at the number of businesses taking temperatures at the mall. Floors are marked fairly well re: which side you need to walk...just a lot of people not paying attention & walking the wrong way. Still quite a few businesses closed. What a peculiar time to be alive.”
And it wasn’t just young people doing this. I saw people of all ages behaving like it was still February.
To quote Ron Burgundy, “keep your head on a swivel” when you are out shopping. Be aware of everyone around you and put that bloody phone away.
Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.