For those of you who've been longing to hit up Calgary's malls again, your dreams are about to come true. Phase one of Alberta's reopening plan takes off on May 14, which means our favourite stores can open their doors very soon. However, the whole mall experience is going to look a whole lot different than we're used to.
In a statement sent to Narcity, a representative of Cadillac Fairview, who owns two malls in the Calgary area, told us about the changes they're going to be making when stores reopen on May 14.
The company owns and operates CF Chinook Centre and CF Market Mall and has set in place a number of protocols that'll allow shoppers and staff to maintain physical distancing in the weeks and months to come.
For starters, signs about hand washing and staying home if you're sick will be plastered all over.
Plus, there will be multiple hand sanitization stations available.
As for going in and out, you can expect some line-ups because the complexes will be constantly monitoring the number of shoppers hanging out inside at any given time.
This means that they'll have to limit the number of shoppers at any one time if the need arises.
They're also going to be controlling foot traffic, so this could lead to the implementation of "one-way" walking through common areas and the marking of clear "entrance" and "exit" points on the doors.
They'll also be creating lanes for escalator use, and limiting the number of people that can take the elevator or stairs at a time.
Stores will have their own line-ups to deal with, and the shopping complexes fully intend on working with the retailers to "support safe lines," as the statement read.
This could mean setting up floor markings or installing barriers.
The food courts are also going to be a whole lot different. In some cases, they might be gone entirely.
Cadillac Fairview's statement said that "dining hall seating could be entirely removed" to comply with public health guidelines.
If they're not removed, they'll definitely be reconfigured so guests can maintain the two metres of distance as prescribed by health officials.
Reusable products, such as trays, plates, and cutlery, are also being scrapped for the time being. Food spots have been told to provide single-use plastics instead.
Retailers will also have the option to offer curbside services, and the malls are more than willing to accommodate that at their premises.
"COVID-19 will likely disrupt our lives for some time, and we've adapted our operations to reflect this new normal," read Cadillac Fairview's statement.
The mall experience may be shaping up to be much different than what it used to be, but hey, at least retail therapy is an option again.