West Edmonton Mall says it had to ‘temporarily lay off many of our staff’

After the province banned gatherings of more than 50 people and West Edmonton Mall shut down many of its attractions, the shopping centre confirmed it laid off “many” of its staff.

A mall spokesperson would not provide the exact number of employees affected.

“Due to the current unprecedented circumstances and the state of emergency from the COVID-19 pandemic, West Edmonton Mall Property Inc. has had to make the very difficult decision to temporarily lay off many of our staff,” WEM project manager Kirstie Purdy said.

“This is a direct consequence of the drastic business impact and the challenging market conditions created from this growing pandemic.”

On Tuesday, the government of Alberta declared a public health emergency and banned gatherings of more than 50 people.

The province also shut down bars, nightclubs, casinos, bingo halls, theatres, children’s play centres, recreation centres and arenas, science centres, museums and art galleries, community centres, fitness facilities, and entertainment facilities like movie theatres.

The Edmonton mall said the new restrictions put even more pressure on “an already difficult situation.”

“We continue to support our employees in any way we can as we impose this temporary suspension plan West Edmonton Mall Property Inc. will continue Sun Life medical benefits coverage for currently enrolled employees and will cover all premiums associated with such benefits,” Purdy said.

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