Boxing Day draws lineups to Calgary, Edmonton malls

Concerns about catching COVID-19 didn't seem to dissuade shoppers from trying to score Boxing Day deals.

Province has capped retail capacity at 15 per cent to reduce spread of COVID-19

Boxing Day lineup at CrossIron Mills mall near Calgary

2 years ago
Duration 0:44
Customers lined up outside of CrossIron Mills mall near Calgary on Boxing Day, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

Concerns about catching COVID-19 didn't seem to dissuade shoppers from trying to score Boxing Day deals.

CrossIron Mills, located north of Calgary, saw lineups around the building on Saturday, after the mall was forced to move customers outdoors in order to comply with public health restrictions limiting retail to 15 per cent capacity.

"Please note that we are currently experiencing high volumes of customer traffic today. As a result, and keeping with our COVID-19 safety measures please be aware that exterior line-ups will be implemented at centre," a post on the mall's social media read at 12:30 p.m.

One shopper, Dana Havens, said she had no concerns about the risks of joining other shoppers indoors.

"My 11-year-old daughter … needs to spend her Christmas money on Boxing Day," she said. 

"I think everyone's aware and social distance and stuff, so I don't think it's too much of a problem," Simon King, another shopper in the line, said.

Other malls, like Market Mall and Chinook Centre, had announcements over the loudspeakers cautioning shoppers when the malls were nearing capacity. 

It was a similar situation in Edmonton. Vehicle traffic in the area of South Edmonton Common was heavy and some stores had line-ups early in the morning. Best Buy manager Keith Knorr said not everyone changed their habits.

Customers lined up outside of CrossIron Mills mall, north of Calgary, on Boxing Day. The province has implemented 15 per cent capacity limits on retail to reduce the spread of COVID-19. (Andrew Brown/CBC)

"We had people here for 5 a.m.," he said. 

"I think they were expecting the 6 a.m. like we normally have. But just to shorten our hours that we're open, we opened at 8 am. We had people lined up [around the building] by 7 a.m. for sure."

Only 95 customers were allowed in the store at one time — that number would have been closer to 400 in years past. 

According to a survey from Chartered Professional Accountants, 58 per cent of Canadians still planned to shop during major sales like Boxing Day this year, close to last year's number of 63 per cent. However, one-in-three said they planned to do the majority of holiday shopping online.

Alberta Health has encouraged customers to use curbside pickup or delivery where possible.


With files from Andrew Brown