As of Sunday food courts are closed to dine-in business but take-out is still allowed.
Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff

Health restrictions now limit malls to 15 per cent capacity

Health officials looking into reports some malls looked crowded despite new rules

Alberta’s malls must have measures in place to ensure capacity does not top 15 per cent, said Alberta Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw.

The newest health restrictions limiting retail shops to 15 per cent capacity applies to the entire mall not just the stores within it, said Hinshaw.

She was asked about malls during a Monday afternoon news conference after images posted on social media seemed to show some shopping centres still busy with Christmas shoppers and parking lots full on Sunday.

Hinshaw was aware of concerns that some malls might have been over capacity, but she pointed out that on Saturday capacity would still have been at 25 per cent. The 15 pere cent restriction kicked in at midnight.

Those who believe malls are too busy can contact Alberta Health Services or law enforcement.

The number of peace officers has been bumped up to respond to issues.

Hinshaw said reports about busy malls will be followed up this week and health officials will ensure malls have systems in place to control the number of shoppers.

As of Sunday food courts in Alberta malls are also closed to dine-in business although take-out is allowed.

On Sunday, Bower Place mall closed its south and east entrances in response to the latest restrictions, said mall marketing manager Adwoa Yamoah.

“Bower Place will manage a capacity limit of 15 per cent, including common areas and individual stores through traffic counters and security,” said Yamoah in an email. “We also have an abundance of signage to reflect these guidelines.”

All social gatherings, club activities and programming, including the mall walking program have been postponed until further notice.

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