Mayor John Tory urges shoppers not to flock to malls, other retail stores in Toronto ahead of lockdown

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Mayor John Tory is urging residents of Toronto not to rush to stores to shop for non-essential items this weekend amid reports of large crowds at malls and other retail stores.

“Everything I’ve learned… is that crowd scenes are a place where the virus is spread. Even if everyone wears a mask in malls, it’s still a threat, ”he says.

“Please stay home. People don’t have to shop. Some people mostly do it but not all of them have to go today… I think a lot of the purchases made are not essential. ”

All non-essential retail stores will be forced to close at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, as Toronto and the Region of Peel head for a 28-day lockdown, similar to the one implemented in the spring.

Curb pickup and delivery will still be permitted at all retail locations.

Gyms will also be forced to close again, and restaurants will only be able to stay open for take-out and delivery.

Queues formed outside big box stores including several Walmart stores in Toronto on Saturday as customers spotted stocks of toilet paper and other household items.

In anticipation of increased buyer volumes, some shopping centers in the GTA have extended their hours of operation this weekend.

Tory said that while this weekend’s shopping spree could lead to further spread of the virus, the province was in a difficult position.

“You’re sort of damned if you do, damned if you don’t, to be frank. If you had closed everything on Friday at noon, or every time the Prime Minister made the announcement, then people would have said that you had given us no warning. Tory said.

“That’s a fair comment. There would have been no warning. We gave some time, the Prime Minister did, to let people prepare for this… There is no perfect answer. Everyone did what they thought was the best of all conditions. ”

The mayor said the response to the lockdown had been “mixed”.

“I think people are generally very supportive of what needs to be done and they understand that we are putting these restrictions in place and recommending them to the province based on expert advice,” he said.

“I think they also agree with the idea that if it improves things in a few months and avoids a much worse blockage for a much longer period, and if we can keep the schools open now and protecting our seniors is something that may be needed. ”

He admitted that companies “are not happy”, and that is understandable.

“They went through a terrible and terrible time and they are going to spend another 28 days of a terrible time at a time of the year when things could have been a lot more dynamic because of Christmas, because of Black Friday,” he said. he declared. .

“But at the end of the day, you have to have healthy workers to have a healthy economy. “

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