I was in the Metrotown neighbourhood on Friday taking some photos for the paper when I made the decision to do my two-week’s worth of shopping right then and there.
I was seriously running out of everything and knew I needed to resupply, but it’s still a difficult decision to make. Nobody wants to be around other people right now. I was taking photos outside, away from people, in case you were wondering.
So, I stopped in at Metropolis at Metrotown, Burnaby’s biggest mall and one of the largest in all of Canada, to shop at the Real Canadian Superstore. It has some of the highest traffic of any mall in our nation.
But not on Friday.
No, on Friday it was a sad and eerie ghost town – a shocking sight for someone like me who grew up in Burnaby.
I can’t ever remember being there during the day and not being overwhelmed by volume of people at this mall.
I don’t do well at all in crowds. I usually feel suffocated and Metropolis at Metrotown is a lot for me to take in.
COVID-19 has destroyed the place. There we a few people scattered around looking for the few remaining stores that are open. One woman was just sitting on a bench trying to adjust her mask. A couple of older folks looked like mall walkers getting their laps in.
I’ve seen all of the small businesses around Burnaby that are shut down and the streets that devoid of pedestrian traffic, but to be in this huge mall and see it so empty was surreal. (It should be noted that the Superstore was actually filled with people. The lineup to pay was so long, I left and went to the grocery market on Hastings near Rosser. No lineups, just lots of fresh veggies. Please support these small businesses.)
It’s good, of course, because people should be staying home. I hadn’t left my home in 10 days and am doing my part to social distance.
We all need to stay home if at all possible and work to flatten the curve so we can save lives.
That has meant short-term devastation to businesses and people’s employment. In my head, I know it’s a good thing for people to stay home, but to see such emptiness in person is just so sad.
Friday’s visit to the mall just reinforced all of that.
Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44