Sat. Jan 22nd, 2022

In-person shopping is considered a relief as shoppers torment for normal

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With Christmas around the corner, there was some anxiety among Saturday shoppers at the Eaton Center.

But a strong desire to return to normal was also a feeling that many shared.

“Well, a little paranoid,” Maria Malandrino said. “But glad things are going back to normal.”

Her nervousness, which went among so many people in the mall, was “because of the new variant. But I’m glad we’re out.

The crowd at the mall was manageable, Malandrino said as she walked out of downtown Toronto with her daughter Jessica.

But getting there on the TTC was scary.

“We took the subway to get here. There were a lot of people in the subway. You could not sit,” she said. “That’s why we’re taking an Uber now because the subway was really full.”

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Ontario recorded 1,053 new cases on Saturday, adding eight deaths to the total.

There were 284 people admitted with COVID-19 – a small decrease compared to the day before – including 160 people who are in intensive care units.

The new Omicron variant has sparked concern among the global scientific community, which is in a race to determine how virulent and contagious it is – and how susceptible it is to existing vaccines.

Malandrino shares that concern.

“If anyone is in once, I will take it next time just to avoid them,” she said.

Her daughter Jessica does not share the same concern about wading through crowds during a potential new phase of the pandemic.

“It’s great to be back,” she said as she held a bag of newly purchased workout clothes.

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Some entrances to the Eaton Center have signs showing capacity limited to just over 23,000.

Natalia and Armand leave CF Toronto Eaton Center after a shopping trip in Toronto, Ont.  Saturday, December 4, 2021. ERNEST DOROSZUK / TORONTO SUN
Natalia and Armand leave CF Toronto Eaton Center after a shopping trip in Toronto, Ont. Saturday, December 4, 2021. ERNEST DOROSZUK / TORONTO SUN

“I love it. It’s nice to see people come around,” said Armand, who drove in from Mississauga with his girlfriend Natalia. “We enjoy life as best we can.”

Both said they are double-vaccinated, although Armand wore a face shield as he strolled through the mall.

“I’m not wearing a mask. I’m honestly not wearing a mask since COVID started,” he said.

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“I think it’s good,” he added. “As long as we all respect each other in terms of distance.”

Added Natalia: “I do not worry about COVID. I got the shot.”

Their trip to the mall was less about shopping, and more about seeing a place they had not visited in years.

“People are obedient. I think people are getting smarter now,” Natalia said.

“We want to keep everything going. We need our economy to go and not stop.”

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