Opinion: Burnaby’s biggest mall a victim of COVID-19 rumour

Chris Campbell

First it was Burnaby’s Crystal Mall being victimized by a false rumour about the COVID-19 virus going around various businesses.

That was being spread all over social media channels, including WeChat. Read about it here.

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Now somebody is trying to do the same thing with Burnaby’s biggest mall – Metropolis at Metrotown.

I’ve had several people email me saying they saw on Facebook and WeChat this message:

“BREAKING NEWS** March 18/2020: 15 cases of Coronavirus linked to Metrotown mall in Burnaby, B.C.Everyone who visited the following stores within the last 3 days needs to call the COVID-19 hotline or self isolate (sic) at home as soon as possible because even if your (sic) not feeling symptoms you could still be carrying and unknowingly spreading the virus.”

It’s baloney, of course, complete with typos.

One version of the message includes a photo of people wearing what appears to be hazmat suits for what is likely a construction job. It’s so bogus.

The NOW asked Metropolis about this and received a response from Judy Black, the mall’s marketing director.

“We are aware of a message that circulated on Facebook and Whatsapp,” Black said in an email. “The safety and health of our visitors, customers, tenants and their employees are of the utmost importance to Metropolis at Metrotown. Be assured that we have been closely following the recommendations of the Public Health Agency of Canada, including British Columbia Public Health Agency and British Columbia of Centre of Disease Control, the provincial governments and international partners, including the World Health Organization (WHO).

"At this time, there is no confirmed case at Metropolis at Metrotown.”

It’s sad that Metropolis has to respond to this kind of garbage. It’s even sadder that adults are sharing this stuff on social media. I’m writing about it to put it out there that this is false.

Listen to the experts. B.C. health officials are giving daily updates on new cases. If there was a cluster of cases, like what’s happened at a care home on the North Shore, they would mention it.

Sharing this kind of thing on social media isn’t doing anyone any good so stop it.

Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.

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