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Too many shoppers force mall to close temporarily

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The doors of the mall were closed for about 40 minutes and shoppers were prohibited from entering by members of the police who guarded all the entrances of the mall.

THE DIAMOND Pavilion Mall in Kimberley was forced to close its doors temporarily on Saturday morning after disaster management officials found that there were too many shoppers at the complex.

The doors of the mall were closed for about 40 minutes and shoppers were prohibited from entering by members of the police who guarded all the entrances of the mall.

Those inside were allowed to leave systematically, while management and disaster management officials assessed the safety and hygiene standards of the mall.

The general manager of the mall, Amanda Barra, said the centre had met all necessary standards but the number of shoppers who flocked to the centre was a concern.

“The officials from disaster management assessed the number of shoppers inside the mall. We had to close the doors temporarily. We will regulate the amount of people who will be allowed inside the mall at any time. We will continuously assess the number of people and react appropriately,” said Barra.

She said the mall management would be working in partnership with the police.

“We will be working with law authorities and mall security to ensure that all people adhere to the lockdown measures. We also want to urge all shoppers to keep their masks on when they are inside the mall. Shoppers know that if they are not wearing a mask, they will be denied access inside the premises. Some people come in with their masks but take them off once they get inside. We urge everyone to keep their masks on at all times for the safety of all shoppers. Our mall security will be assessing that, as well as ensuring that people sanitise and keep their social distance,” Barra added.

“We urge people to remember that the entire purpose of the lockdown is to reduce the number of contacts they make. If we can keep the infection rate low in Kimberley then we may come out of the lockdown earlier. The advice from the Government is to limit your exposure and to only venture out of your house when absolutely necessary,” she stated further.

A Kimberley resident was shocked by the large crowds at the malls on Saturday and said that this was evidence that it had been a mistake to open selected stores.

“We understand that the economy needs to turn but people are acting like they have been locked up inside their own homes this past month. Why does everyone need to go to the mall at the same time? People are not buying essentials and are shopping for clothes and other unnecessary things. People head to the mall as if it is a fun outing. This is against the regulations imposed. If things carry on like this, we will never extinguish this virus,” she said.

Another resident pointed out that he would not be surprised if the government went back to Level 5. “It is as though everything has returned to normal and Covid-19 is no longer a threat, but the reality is that the number of people testing positive, as well as the number of deaths, is higher than ever before.”