Retailers, including shopping malls, learned on Wednesday that they will be among the companies authorized to reopen in phase 1 of the province’s plan, which takes effect May 4.
The reopening comes with removal and sanitation rules that businesses must follow – such as reduced occupancy and single entry – or face sanctions, depending on the province.
“Now that advice has been provided, we will be looking at our recovery plans versus the province’s advice,” said Peter Havens, CEO of CF Polo Park, in a written statement.
“Assuming we can follow all of the safety guidelines and precautions, we aim to open the mall on Monday, May 4. “
In addition to Polo Park, officials from Garden City Shopping Center, Kildonan Place and Grant Park Shopping Center said the malls are also planning to open on Monday.
“This is a difficult time for all Canadians, including our tenants – many of whom are small businesses and who all play an important role in our local community,” said Patrick Sullivan, Chief Operating Officer of Primaris Management Inc ., which manages Kildonan Place and Grant Park, in a written statement.
“We believe the province’s decision is good news for Manitobans and fully support their progressive approach. “
Precautions in place
Provincial rules for reopening companies include offering hand sanitizer to anyone entering, limiting customers to only one entry and regulating that entry, including all lines that form, to avoid congestion
All businesses must limit occupancy to 50% of their normal level or one person per 10 square meters, whichever is less. Everyone inside should keep a distance of two meters from everyone inside, except for brief exchanges.
All staff must use the province’s self-test tool before coming to work, and clients with COVID-19 symptoms are not allowed in.
Sullivan of Primaris said the company’s two shopping malls will be “very careful” and have outlined several policies to comply with provincial regulations and keep people safe. This includes a single entrance for all staff and customers, which will also help control occupancy levels, a series of hand sanitizing stations and physical distance signage throughout the mall and reduce the number of seats in common areas.
Shopping centers will also operate at reduced hours and create dedicated sidewalk collection areas to reduce the number of people who must enter.
Other steps you can expect at Kildonan Place and Grant Park include:
- Suspension of loans of equipment such as strollers and wheelchairs (buyers and staff can always bring their own).
- Implement road signs, physical distance measures and other food court initiatives to ensure that food retailers can serve customers safely.
- Messages posted at all doors and increased communications via social media and other channels to ensure customers know what to expect when they visit and follow the appropriate directions.
- Strict disease policies strengthened with government employees and contractors to prevent people from coming to work sick
Terri Andrianopoulos, vice president of communications for RioCan, which manages Garden City Shopping Center, wrote in an email that the mall is also implementing policies that meet provincial requirements, similar to what it had in place before the closure .
These include removing seats or restricting access to common areas, canceling scheduled events and programming, and restricting access to high-touch services such as children’s rides. The mall will operate at regular hours to provide flexibility, she said, but tenants can choose to reduce their hours if they wish.
Other Garden City policies are:
- Signs and important markers to impose a respectful physical distance in all spaces.
- Increased cleaning of frequent touch points, such as entry door handles and bathroom accessories.
- Increase in the number of hand sanitizers for guests and employees.
- Continuous communication with all tenants and employees informing them of protocols, policies and recommended practices to ensure their safety and prevent the transmission of viruses.
- Cancellation of all scheduled events and programs until further notice.
“These safety protocols follow the guidelines of the provincial and municipal public health authorities,” wrote Andrianopoulos. “We also communicate with our tenants to make sure they follow strict physical removal and cleaning practices, so guests can feel confident and employees feel safe to return to work.”
CBC News also contacted representatives from the St. Vital Shopping Center and the Outlet Collection Winnipeg.