The Bay Centre/Instagram

Two prominent Greater Victoria shopping centres have posted guidelines that will allow for a safe, partial reopening of the premises after a period of COVID-19 induced shut down.

The Bay Centre in downtown Victoria, and the Hillside Shopping Centre will restart some operations at reduced service starting tomorrow, May 19.

See also: Restaurants, retailers, hair salons start opening in B.C. tomorrow. Here’s what to expect.

Other shopping malls like Mayfair and Tillicum never fully closed their doors to patrons, although many individual retailers within the premises discontinued operations.

As of today, the Bay Centre and Hillside Shopping Centre are the only two malls of their kind in Greater Victoria that have publicly posted safe reopening plans on their websites, giving customers an idea of what to expect.

Bay Centre reopening plan

Downtown Victoria staple The Bay Centre will reopen with reduced hours on Tuesday, May 19.

The mall itself will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day of the week, but stores with exterior entrances may have different hours.

Not all businesses within the shopping centre will reopen right away, and some of them may choose to have a different schedule.

However retail stores and food vendors inside the Bay Centre that will definitely reopen on May 19 include:

  • Ardene
  • Below the Belt
  • Celestolite
  • Central Art Studio & Gallery 
  • Coast Capital Savings
  • Eco Chic AVEDA Salon & Spa
  • EB Games
  • Faye’s Spa
  • Lifestyles West 
  • Mobile Snap
  • OptiCanada
  • Out of Bounds Sports
  • Sean Schuster Photography
  • SoftMoc
  • Sport Chek
  • The Tuscan Kitchen
  • Urban Art
  • Urban Planet
  • West Coast Leathers
  • Western Coast Insurance
  • Earls Kitchen + Bar
  • Johnny Rockets
  • Marble Slab Creamery 
  • Mr. Pretzels
  • Opa! of Greece
  • Owly Cafe
  • Starbucks

To reduce risks of transmission, amenities like wheelchairs and strollers will not be provided for the foreseeable future and water refill stations, candy and vending machines, and the Informal Mall Walking program will be closed until further notice.

Floor markers and stanchions have been installed to guide lineups outside of individual stores as businesses can now accommodate far less customers than normal.

Hand sanitizer stations will be available throughout at all mall entrances and in common areas, and high touch surfaces like washrooms and seating areas will undergo a rigorous, regular sanitization process.

All employees exhibiting flu-like symptoms will be asked to stay home, and a remote Guest Services kiosk will be open at the Douglas Street entrance to answer questions and assist with gift card sales.

Hillside Shopping Centre reopening plan

For their part, the Hillside Shopping Centre has adopted a plan very similar to that of the Bay Centre.

Starting May 19, the Hillside mall will be operating from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday – Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays.

The main entrances at Marshalls (N Dairy Rd), Shoppers Drug Mart (Shelbourne St), Food Court (Hillside Ave) and CIBC (Hillside Ave) are open as they provide designated “entry” and “exit” options with no overlap. 

While the Guest Services desk remains open, some services have been temporarily discontinued, like the availability of children’s strollers, wheelchairs/walkers, courtesy telephone, and electronics recharging stations.

Hand sanitizer stations have been installed throughout the premises and enhanced sanitation protocols are in place for common touch surfaces like door handles and washrooms.

There will be a limit on the number of people allowed inside the washrooms at any given time, and ‘Wash Your Hands’ signs will be placed as a reminder inside every washroom.

Physical distancing will also be required throughout the premises with floor markers in place to guide lineups. Shopping Centre authorities have also instated a limit of two customers per food vendor at the food court.

As with all other malls and businesses, employees and visitors are asked to refrain from entering the premises if they have flu-like symptoms.



With files from Seanna Wainman.

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