Malls excluded from non-essential reopening; Windsor customers stopped at the doors
WINDSOR, ONT. -- On the first day of Step 1 of Ontario’s reopening, customers in Windsor and Tecumseh were surprised to be stopped at the door, and most, turned away.
“Shopping centres across Ontario cannot open,” says Chris Savard, General Manager of Devonshire Mall.
“We did have some lineups at the doors, people expecting that today was a normal retail day.”
It’s far from normal.
Retailers with mall locations are only allowed to reopen if they have an exterior entrance.
Those with entrances inside shopping centres are not allowed to have customers in their stores until Step 2 of the provinces’ reopening plan.
“I would think probably 50 per cent of our customers were unaware of the limitations placed on shopping,” says Savard.
Every customer entering Devonshire Mall is approached by a security guard and asked the reason for their visit.
“We have an obligation to talk to every single customer, to make sure that you’re here for the prescribed purpose of going to one of those essential stores,” says Savard.
“Lockdown news is difficult,” Debra McVeety, general manager of Tecumseh Mall wrote in an email.
McVeety says they are ready to reopen, to full capacity as soon as the province gives it the green light.
In the meantime, she says they are incredibly grateful to their essential workers; “cashiers, maintenance, pharmacy, operating retailers (to name a few) - who have worked continuously and tirelessly offering exemplary service throughout this crisis.”
“It doesn’t make sense to me at all,” says Ayad Saddy, owner of BB Branded.
The clothing and sneaker store can only offer curbside pickup or online sales until the province moves to Step 2.
“Just because you’re store faces the street, now you’re allowed to reopen and if it doesn’t, you’re out of luck,”he says.
Saddy is trying to stay optimistic and hopes to have customers back in the store by early July.
“We’re just, you know, like everybody else, trying to make it through this thing so we can kinda restart our lives,” adds Saddy.
Stores at Windsor Crossing Outlet Mall are allowed to be open to in-person shopping since they have exterior entrances.