Malls reopen with big changes due to COVID-19

Shopping in Coronatime: People lined up in CrossIron Mills mall on June 6. Even within the novel coronavirus present in Alberta, customers continue to visit malls, forming lines to access stores. (Photo by Balwinderjit Kaur/The Press)

Coronavirus has changed how people shop at CrossIron Mills mall, located north of Calgary’s city limits.

The mall closed March 28 because of the pandemic and reopened on May 14.

The workers and customers at CrossIron Mills are now following new safety measures.

A cleaner named Surekha Thakur shared her experience about the changes in the mall before and after the virus.

“The mall is not busy at all but we are still so busy … because we are sanitizing door handles [and] tables frequently, and these things are additional to our scheduled work,” said Thakur.

She said two members of their team are handling the food court, including cleaning everything, properly sanitizing tables and mopping floors with disinfectant.

“We are changing our gloves over and over as our work is not safe at all,” she said.

She said their company increased the team members because they have more work than before.

“I can say COVID-19 changed the way of work completely,” said Thakur.

Chanpreet Singh, a security guard at CrossIron Mills, shared his views regarding the reopening.

“I am working in this mall for more than a year …  but I had never seen such an atmosphere in this mall,” said Singh. “Being a front-line worker, we are facing more workload and stress because crowd control is not an easy thing in such times.”

He said that his phone is ringing often because there are many people who are not following COVID-19 safety protocol. He has to give guidance to those people.

According to Singh, security guards have never done this before, especially giving directions to people and telling them to keep distance from others.

He said he’s seeing two types of people right now: those who are maintaining physical distancing and following safety measures, “keeping themselves safe and everyone safe”, but also people who are not taking precautions and even touching things unnecessarily.

Kirandeep Kaur, a worker at Marble Slab Creamery in CrossIron Mills, is experiencing huge changes in the work due to coronavirus.

“COVID-19 changed our work deeply because we are taking customers one by one and taking care of precautions and safety measures,” said Kaur.

“We are cleaning shelves with sanitizer over and over after every customer and wearing masks and gloves all the time,” said Kaur.

She said they have to ensure that customers are not touching anything they don’t need to, and only two people can work at a time due to COVID-19 protocol.

According to her, not everyone is following the precautions, even as the mall gets busier day by day.

Protection is Essential: Romal Sharma sanitizes her hands at the entrance of Saks Fifth Avenue store on June 6 at CrossIron Mills Mall. Sharma is an international student who came to shop at the mall. (Photo by Balwinderjit Kaur/The Press)