MASKED UP: Kelowna mall shoppers follow rules, brave Black Friday deals despite pandemic | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kelowna News

MASKED UP: Kelowna mall shoppers follow rules, brave Black Friday deals despite pandemic

Customers line up outside of Bath & Body Works during Black Friday, Nov. 27.

Hundreds of shoppers took to Orchard Park Shopping Centre for Black Friday today and the vast majority of shoppers were wearing masks while shoppers we spoke to said they were glad to see it.

With those health orders, it was anyone's guess what today — one of the biggest shopping days of the year — would like in the largest shopping mall between Vancouver and Calgary. It might not have looked like past Black Fridays, but it was a busy day in the mall nonetheless.

Tamara Delowsky, who works at a grocery store, was with her mom who found a deal at Bentley, Friday afternoon, Nov. 27.

She’s happy to see the provincial mandate for mask use in place at all public indoor locations, and said the mall feels no more or less safe than work.

At the grocery store, people don’t social distance, so she’s glad to see everyone generally wears their mask, she said, adding that the Black Friday deals also stretched throughout the week and wasn’t compiled all into one day so the mall was less busy than she expected.

Shopping malls and many retailers have suffered more than most since the pandemic. While Orchard Park Shopping Centre remained open throughout most of the pandemic, many retailers closed shop in March and April before slowly welcoming more shoppers back. The mall was also the scene of an anti-mask demonstration last weekend.

Karen Gibson was “shocked and dismayed” when she pulled into the mall parking lot for a hair appointment. Both she and her husband are immune-compromised and she’s been shopping online using local store websites and staying home as much as possible, she said.

Inside Orchard Park Shopping Centre, Nov. 27.
Inside Orchard Park Shopping Centre, Nov. 27.

She didn’t realize it was Black Friday and wasn’t looking for a deal, rather to get in and get out, but said it was good people were adhering to mask mandates.

James Strachan felt safe browsing stores for deals in order to shop for his parents for Christmas, adding that there was room to space out in the mall.

A woman who declined to be named said she was also just grabbing one item and zipping out of the mall, not shopping for Black Friday sales.

“As always, the safety of our guests, tenants, staff and the general public is of the highest priority," said mall marketing manager Vicki Webster, in an emailed statement. "In anticipation of increased traffic on Black Friday, retailers commenced Black Friday sales earlier in the month than usual and will continue to offer sales beyond today as a strategy to reduce crowds in the shopping centre. Retailers have implemented measures to manage line-ups according to the recommendations of Interior Health, including floor decals and signage to keep customers six feet apart.” 

“Additional security officers and mall ambassadors will monitor proper distancing, wearing of masks and encourage purposeful shopping. Our elevated cleaning and sanitizing programs remain in place, as well as the placement of hand sanitizers throughout the mall."

Orchard Park Shopping Centre's parking lot, Nov. 26.
Orchard Park Shopping Centre's parking lot, Nov. 26.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Carli Berry or call 250-864-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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