Huge crowds ignore social distancing
Pre-Mother's Day shopping brought out huge crowds yesterday in shopping centres across Australia, causing fears over the blatant disregard for social distancing.
Pictures captured show a packed Westfield in Marion, Adelaide, with crowds filling the enclosed space.
It's a trend that occurred across the nation yesterday. Photos emerged on social media of huge crowds in shopping centres in Sydney and Western Australia, as well as Adelaide.
In Sydney, Bankstown Shopping Centre in Sydney's west was particularly busy, with crowds cramming the entrance to the Myer store.
In the commercial district of Miranda in southern Sydney, seas of people could also be seen yesterday.
Shoppers at Westfield Burwood in Sydney also packed into the centre.
Western Australia also wasn't spared from the pre-Mother's Day excitement, with shoppers taking to social media to express their concern.
One customer told the ABC their local shopping centre was "busier than Christmas" as they rushed to get their hands on a Mother's Day gift.
"We still have social distance rules but at Westfield, social distances didn't mean anything. Don't understand why most of the shoppers and Westfield management are so ignorant of the regulation," one shopper posted to social media.
Another shopper compared the shopping spree to "swimming in COVID soup".
"It's bizarre that Westfield today is jammed with a sea of people yet cafes and restaurants are limited to 10 people," another said.
It's bizarre that Westfield today is jammed with a sea of people yet cafes and restaurants are limited to 10 people. Strange arbitrary decisions that make no sense at all but are crushing small businesses. #covid19australia #qldpol— Russell Egan (@RussellEgan) May 9, 2020
The Australian Retailers Association was happy about the shopping enthusiasm but concerned about shoppers' safety.
"It's great to see the obvious enthusiasm from Australians to get back to the shops after weeks of lockdown. That's a really great sign for retail, and a very natural response as Australians see the lockdowns starting to ease around the country," Paul Zahra told the ABC.
"At the same time we want a safe restart, not a false start. And we are still waiting on a green light from some state governments before the full reopening of retail."
Meanwhile, retailers promised to tighten to tighten social distancing measures to ensure the same mistake didn't happen again.
A spokesperson for Myer later said the company would "continue to work with centre managers to ensure guidelines are followed in the areas outside of our stores".
Westfield said it had brought in extra signs and PA announcements to remind shoppers about social distancing.
"Our centres continue to follow government health advice and measures in our centres including playing our role in educating customers about the importance of physical distancing when they visit our centres and our retailers," the company said in a statement.
"We remind customers to work with us and practice physical distancing when they visit us, even as their confidence to go about their day-to-day lives and activities begins to gradually return."
Originally published as Huge crowds ignore social distancing