Should people stop going to the mall during a pandemic?

Written By Geena Provenzano

Let’s face it: The season is changing, there’s more to do in Pittsburgh, and you may be getting tired of the tie-dye lounge set you’ve been wearing since April. Nothing sounds better than going to the mall and updating your fall wardrobe. But, as a mall employee, I would think twice about going.

Typically I am a huge advocate for shopping in-store. Not only because many people work off commission, but also because every time I place an online order I end up returning half of it. I’d rather just drive to a store and get to see and try clothing on in person, rather than waiting for something in the mail I probably won’t like anyway.

Given the current circumstances, my opinion of shopping in-store has changed. Personally, If I didn’t work at the mall, I would not be going unless it was for something absolutely necessary. For one, some of the stores in the mall still aren’t open. And for a long time, the stores that were open didn’t really have as much inventory as they normally would. Nothing would irritate me more than when customers would come in and be genuinely angry that we didn’t have enough product. (Karen, there’s people that are dying.) I’m still not sure why they needed all of these $1,000 bags and $400 shoes if there was nowhere to go anyway. 

I started working back at the mall in June. I remember everyone was being extra cautious. At pretty much every store, there was someone at the door making sure people were wearing masks and letting a limited amount of customers in at a time. Recently, I have noticed that some of the precautions being taken have slowly disappeared. Some stores wouldn’t let you into the fitting rooms. Now, many of them do. Areas that were sanitized after every use are now just a few times a day.

What has me skeptical is that all of these changes are being made when there really hasn’t been much of an improvement in cases. In fact, cases in Allegheny County have been steadily increasing since October 1st. So what is the logic behind easing all of these restrictions?

One thing that does make me feel safer is that customers seem to be pretty compliant when it comes to wearing masks. Yes, there are a couple people that aren’t wearing one correctly or not at all, but I’m surprised that I haven’t witnessed more conflict. You always see all of those videos of customers being very aggressive with employees, and for a while I feared that it was going to happen to me.

Obviously I’m not saying you absolutely shouldn’t go to the mall. It likely isn’t going to kill you. If you do make the trip, wash your hands, wear a mask, and try not to touch everything. Be mindful of others around you and stay six feet away. These simple gestures can give us all a chance at getting back to normalcy soon.