The largest shopping malls in Metro Vancouver have cut back their hours significantly in response to growing health concerns over the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, and the falling volume of shoppers due to the practice of social distancing.
Cadillac Fairview (CF) announced today its hours for CF Pacific Centre and CF Richmond Centre will be reduced to 11 am to 7 pm, seven days a week, beginning Monday, March 16. This cutback in business hours will remain in place for two weeks, at which point the commercial landlord will re-assess.
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In-mall events have also been cancelled, and maintenance crews are increasing their cleaning procedures for washrooms, stairwells, elevators, lobbies, and employee common areas. New hand washing signs based on Health Canada’s best practices guidelines have been installed in all washrooms, and the number of hand sanitizer stations have been increased, where possible.
“At Cadillac Fairview our first priority is to ensure the safety and security of our employees, tenants/their employees, and guests across our portfolio of shopping centres and office properties,” reads a bulletin by CF.
“Prior to this declaration we had activated our pandemic plans, including the establishment of a Steering Committee, which meets daily to coordinate efforts across our portfolio.”
The hours of Metropolis at Metrotown and Guildford Town Centre have also been curtailed to 11 am to 7 pm between Monday and Saturday, and 11 am to 5 pm on Sunday. Ivanhoe Cambridge (IC) stated today both malls in Burnaby and Surrey will operate with these business hours for at least two weeks, effective March 16 as well.
“As such, we are paying particular attention to tenants, customers and visitors’ awareness of hand-washing hygiene and respiratory etiquette. Over the last few weeks, we included additional measures, particularly regular filling of soap dispensers and antiseptic hand-gel dispensers at designated locations,” reads the bulletin by IC.
“We have increased the frequency of our cleaning practices in our buildings’ common areas and our cleaning products comply with recommendations for COVID-19 sanitization in the workplace.”
Other major shopping malls in the region have not indicated cutbacks to their business hours, but most major properties have noted they are already implementing heightened cleansing and disinfection measures.
Some businesses may choose to have varying business hours from the malls. For example, Apple Store locations at all of the aforementioned mall properties will be closed, following the company’s decision to shutter all of its brick-and-mortar retail locations outside of China until at least March 27.
Decreased foot traffic as a result of the coronavirus has been hammering retail and restaurant businesses across the region, especially small businesses.
But if the number of diners at Vancouver restaurants could be an indicator of overall trends, the year-over-year number of diners fell by 6% on Tuesday, 17% on Wednesday, 24% on Thursday, and 36% on Friday. This is based on OpenTable’s data, which compiled its statistics on online reservations, phone reservations, and walk-ins for dozens of cities around the world, with each city’s data based on a sample of 50 or more restaurants.