5 'no's to enter: Markham’s CF Markville mall introduces COVID-19 screening for all visitors

·2 min read

The Ontario government has issued new guidelines for commercial businesses currently in the red zone. As of Feb. 22, non-essential retail business, such as Markham’s CF Markville, has been able to resume activities while complying with existing restrictions on the number of customers admitted to commercial enterprises.

Besides food court vendors, restaurants within the mall are now able to operate indoors where physical distancing measures can be met. Capacity limits for indoor dining are restricted to 10 people inside, with a limit of four people seated together at once.

“We welcomed back our community of shoppers and retailers on Monday while complying with new restrictions,” said Kelly Vieira, general manager of CF Markville. For instance, active screening is now required by all visitors prior to entering the building.

This means that all guests, including retailers and employees, will be required to answer screening questions like: Do you have any symptoms? Have you travelled outside Canada in the past 14 days? Has a public health unit identified you as a close contact of someone who currently has COVID-19?

To support this effort, CF Markville has limited access to the centre and has staff stationed at the loading docks and at entrances #1, #2, #7 and #10, safely distanced and behind a barrier, to ask screening questions in person before permitting guests who meet the criteria for entry.

Only when people answer “no” to all five questions can they get a green sign saying “You can go,” and then they can enter the mall.

“You can complete the COVID screening form via our website in advance, or answer them on-site, or download the QR code posted at our four open entrances to get access to the online screening tool,” Vieira explained in an email response.

Markville Shopping Centre anticipates that the new restrictions may result in additional lineups inside and outside of the property, and they advise guests to prepare for their visits accordingly.

To address capacity concerns, the mall also developed a real-time capacity indicator tool on their website to encourage shoppers to visit during off-peak hours.

“Our customers, employees and clients are our first priority and, knowing that health and safety is top of mind for everyone, we’ve enhanced safety measures,” Vieira emphasized. “Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have implemented physical distancing guidance, including traffic flow management, use of PPE and increased cleaning of high touch point surfaces.”

For more information on the safety protocols and to access the COVID-19 screening form, please visit www.cfshops.com/markville.html.

Scarlett Liu, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Economist & Sun