Malls and independent retailers extended their hours on Sunday ahead of an impending COVID-19 lockdown in York Region.
According to their website, Vaughan Mills outlet mall, located at Rutherford Road and Jane Street, will be open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. “to allow customers to shop outside of peak hours.”
“Due to York Region’s recent announcement of grey lockdown beginning Monday, Dec. 14, Vaughan Mills has decided to extend its hours of operation this Sunday.”
On Friday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced that York Region and Windor-Essex would join Toronto and Peel Region under lockdown.
Under a lockdown order, non-essential businesses, including malls, are closed to in-person shopping. Delivery or curbside pickup is allowed.
On Saturday, a long line up of people could be seen wrapping around the parking lot, with some residents waiting about two hours in order to get some Christmas shopping done before the area shut down.
Hillcrest Mall also offered extended hours over the weekend, opening at 9 a.m. and closing at 8 p.m.
Small businesses trying to get some last-minute sales in also extended their hours of operation, with one barber shop opening its doors at 6 a.m. and closing at midnight.
Dr. Michael Warner, the medical director of critical care at Michael Garron Hospital,called the long line ups for stores “irresponsible.”
“It’s really your civic duty to stay home. It should be, you know, what you show your children as setting an example,” he said. “It’s irresponsible to try and get to the mall two days before a lockdown so you can do your Christmas shopping.”
“COVID does not forget and patients will die because people are out of their house.”
Ontario health officials reported 1,677 new COVID-19 infections on Sunday, as well as 16 more deaths.