Shops in Halifax-area malls slowly starting to reopen

On a warm and sunny Thursday afternoon outside the Winners on Mumford Road in Halifax, people stopped to get a better look at the signs.

“Welcome Back Fab Finders! We missed you. For now we can only invite 121 customers in the store at any one time,” one sign read.

“Re-opening soon. We’re working hard to get our stores ready with new health and safety practices,” read another.

Winners, a shop operated by TJX Companies, Inc. — which also runs HomeSense and Marshalls — closed on March 20 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of those new safety measures, another sign indicated, includes a requirement for all customers to wear masks upon entering the store.

While Winners was still closed on Thursday, the lights were on and staff could be seen inside getting ready. There were no signs specifying an opening date.

It’s a familiar sight around the city as COVID-19 restrictions begin to ease. While malls never technically closed, many of the shops inside did. 

Winners on Mumford Road was closed on Thursday, but signs on the door indicated it would be reopening soon with a maximum of 121 customers allowed inside at a time. (Anjuli Patil/CBC)

Mic Mac Mall has spaced out red circles on the floor reminding people to walk in a particular direction. Benches throughout the mall have tape across them that says, “Seating Area Closed.”

A spokesperson for Mic Mac Mall told CBC News in an email that a range of preventative health and safety measures have been implemented, including:

  • Educating tenants and visitors on respiratory and hand-washing hygiene.
  • The installation of hand sanitizer dispensers at designated locations.
  • Increased frequency of housekeeping practices in the common areas.
  • Directional signage and floor markers to ensure appropriate physical distancing is practised throughout the centre. 

The Bay at Mic Mac Mall reopened on Tuesday. The store could only be accessed from inside the mall on Thursday. (Anjuli Patil/CBC)

Several shops inside Mic Mac Mall, like The Bay, reopened this week. On Thursday, customers could only access the store from inside the mall. Floor staff at The Bay wore clear plastic shields that covered their whole face. 

Old Navy at Mic Mac Mall was open for business on Thursday. Staff inside the store wore face masks. Like Winners, there is a sign outside Old Navy asking people to wear a face mask.

More shops at Mic Mac Mall are expected to reopen throughout this week and the next.

A sign outside the Old Navy store at Mic Mac Mall asks customers to wear a mask. (Anjuli Patil/CBC)

“As our retailers ramp up, they may occasionally encounter some delays and we are accommodating any situations where retailers require some flexibility in timing to ensure a safe and successful opening,” Tamitha Oakley, general manager of Mic Mac Mall, said in a statement.

Oakley said customers interested in learning about when a particular store will reopen should check directly with the retailer. A list of stores and hours is listed on Mic Mac Mall’s website.

At Halifax Shopping Centre, there are signs on the doors and squares on the floors acting as space markers so people can keep apart. There are also arrows on the floor so people don’t walk toward one another.

Blue squares on the floor at Halifax Shopping Centre are spaced six feet apart. (Anjuli Patil/CBC)

Blue squares on the floor of Halifax Shopping Centre are meant to help keep customers apart and ensure one-way foot traffic. (Anjuli Patil/CBC)

Like Mic Mac Mall, the seating area in the Halifax Shopping Centre food court is closed off.

Some stores have signs posted outside indicating the maximum number of customers that will be allowed inside.

For example, the Envy store at Halifax Shopping Centre — which was open on Thursday — had an eight customer limit. The Zumiez store will allow 10. Crescent Gold and Diamonds, which was still closed but had staff inside, posted a limit of three customers.

Food court seating at Halifax Shopping Centre is off-limits. (Anjuli Patil/CBC)

Several stores that were open, like Foot Locker at both malls, offered customers hand sanitizer after coming into the store.

While Halifax Shopping Centre did not provide a statement for this story, a spokesperson for the mall said the latest store openings and hours will be posted to the mall’s website.

Some amenities and programs at Halifax Shopping Centre, like wheelchairs, strollers, the mall walking program and community booth, are not yet accessible.

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