Retailers begin to reopen as B.C. moves into Phase 2

Retailers begin to reopen as B.C. moves into Phase 2
WatchJoining the list of businesses to reopen are non-essential retailers. Malls and shopping centres have seen several stores open up again in the past few days, and locally owned shops have begun to work their way from the brink of permanent closure. Here’s a look at what to expect the next time you head out on a shopping spree.

Shoppers patiently waited outside of Victoria’s Mayfair Shopping Centre on Wednesday.

For most people, it’s been a long time since they’ve had a day at the mall. Inside, bigger companies like The Bay and Sport CHEK have reopened, but the majority of stores remain closed as staff make preparations to open safely. But for avid shoppers, even a mall visit with limitations is good enough.

“Since I really enjoy shopping I’m happy to be back. But just prior to them opening, like anything you have to have patience,” one eager shopper told CHEK.

But for others shopping in our “new normal” feels anything but that.

“It’s pretty weird. Everything is definitely very different. It’s not really what you’d expect. It’s pretty closed down, not really the same thing,” said another Mayfair customer.

At Uptown Shopping Centre in Saanich, a pedestrian boulevard has been created along the main stretch of the mall by closing off vehicle access, allowing shoppers more space to safely maneuver.

In downtown Victoria, locally-owned retail businesses have pounced on the opportunity to reopen.

“We’re very happy. Basically they told us we could do it last week so as soon as we got the green light we just went straight ahead,” said Sara Patterson, the owner of Migration Boutique.

Patterson’s Government Street shop features 65 local designers. Being closed down any longer could have kept the lights off for good.

“We had to lay off all of our staff. We had to close everything down, We’re in incredible debt. So it’s been very difficult to recover from that and we’re hoping to do that in the next few months,” said Patterson.

Stores, of course, must ensure proper physical distancing and sanitization. And the experience of shopping for clothes will vary from store to store, with some not allowing people to try on items before making a purchase.


Ben NesbitBen Nesbit

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