High school students flock to Market Mall food court to escape social isolation
Published Wednesday, November 4, 2020 5:04PM CST Last Updated Wednesday, November 4, 2020 7:08PM CST
SASKATOON -- Some Holy Cross High School students say they congregate at the nearby Market Mall food court because they are not permitted to congregate in the school common areas or hallways.
Photos taken in the Market Mall food court on Tuesday show dozens of people, mostly teenagers, congregating in close proximity. Most appear to be wearing masks.
The tables appear to be spread apart, but some people appear to be standing closer than the recommended two metres.
Grade 10 student Andrew Bell said there will always be someone who doesn’t follow the rules, but for the most part, he sees students at the mall sticking to the COVID protocols.
“If we’re wearing our masks that’s about all we can do and limiting six people to a table and trying not to congregate too much. We’re trying our best, we’re not perfect,” Bell told CTV News.
The mall is also well known as a walking destination for seniors who live in the area.
Delores Scott is one of those seniors who visits the mall regularly and tries to stay away from the food court during the high school lunch period.
“We go over there not every day, but every second or third when we need something and we mostly go to the Coachman restaurant,” she told CTV News.
She says, COVID has “changed her life” because she doesn’t like going into crowds with the risk of infection so high and admits to passing by large crowds of teenagers in the food court at lunch.
Bell says high school students feel isolated in their limited classes due to COVID-19 scheduling of only two classes a day so getting out and seeing others during lunch is important to them.
The province announced new measures effective Friday which make masks mandatory in all indoor public places in Saskatoon, Regina and Prince Albert.
The new rules also see gathering sizes reduced from 15 people to 10 all in an attempt according to Premier Scott Moe to make positive changes in the next two weeks.
In the case of people congregating closely in places like food courts, physical distancing must continue, he said.
“We need to continue with all of the other things that we are doing in addition to the masking policy and hopefully in 28 days we can be having a very different conversation about where we are,” Moe said.
Market Mall management has not responded to repeated requests for comment.