Shoppers flock to Warwick Mall despite pause and COVID concerns

WARWICK, R.I. (WLNE) — At Warwick Mall, COVID is on shoppers’ minds.

“My family just got over COVID so we understand,” said Tarnesha Anne of Woonsocket. “It’s a very dangerous time right now, so just put your mask on and stay away from as many people as possible.”

That could be a challenge at the mall, which got hit with some criticism this week after a photo spread quickly on social media that shows what some consider to be overcrowding.

People say that’s why they expected it to be busy.

“I knew it was going to be a good crowd, but it was very busy,” Anne said. “Big crowd out tonight.”

“I’ve seen it’s very crowded,” said Melanie Silva of East Providence. “But as long as we sanitize, wash your hands, we’ll be good. We’re leaving it in God’s hands. We have a couple people who have been affected by COVID. Whether you stay in or whether you go out, stay protected.”

Shoppers say that’s why they feel safe shopping here.

“There’s not really a need to be scared because stores are taking the right precautions,” said Fatima Anne of Woonsocket.

Stores like Bath & Body Works reached capacity, creating a long line stretching around a corner in the mall.

“The stores are social distancing, they’re being very safe, so that’s not a problem,” Tarnesha Anne said. “Just keep your mask on, over your nose. Everybody had a mask on. I didn’t see one person a mask off.”

At entrances, there were hand sanitizing stations, and security mall management says is intended to count visitors.

One thing people say they would like to see, though, is temperature checks.

“I think they should take temperatures, absolutely,” said Fatima Carvalho of East Providence. “If you have a fever you can’t go in.”

That’s why they say it ultimately comes down to personal responsibility.

“If you’re sick, stay home,” Carvalho said. “If you have a runny nose or anything, just stay home.”

Another criticism of the photo circulating on social media comes from small business owners wondering why the mall can have so many visitors. But shoppers Saturday say they also support small businesses, and point out that there are also some at the mall.

Categories: Coronavirus, News, Rhode Island