MONTREAL -- Mall retailers are happy their reopening date is finally coming up on Friday, more than three weeks after stores with street storefronts.

But for shoppers—especially any mall rats who have been missing their social scene—Friday probably won’t be quite what they’ve been wishing for.

Customers will be welcomed by signs directing foot traffic, hand sanitation stations dotting the hallways and security guards watching to see that they don’t congregate.

And for once, people will not be encouraged to “shop til they drop.” In the pandemic it’s more about aiming for efficiency, said Laurent Bruneau, the general manager at the CF Fairview Pointe-Claire.

“We will ask customers [to] come with a plan, and not too much lollygagging and crowds, and that's something we'll be surpervising in our common areas just to make sure public health guidelines are being respected at all times” he said.

“That is one thing that our security teams will be on the heavy lookout for, to make sure these measures are always respected.”

Downtown, at the Eaton Centre and Place Montreal Trust, “sanitation teams” will be working and visible while people shop.

“We plan to increase the frequency of housekeeping practices in the common areas,” said Katherine Roux Groleau of Ivanhoe Cambridge Properties, which owns both downtown malls.

“We're talking about high-traffic areas, handrails, door handles, counters, directories, elevator buttons and restrooms.”

At the CF Fairview, the mall will be offering masks “as a courtesy”—they aren’t required to shop but are recommended, said Bruneau.

Some shoppers said they were still excited to go back. Others say it feels like a risky environment, with all those people together indoors.

“I just don't feel like it's a necessary thing to open,” one person said. “Stores with an outside door, okay, but to go into a mall where a bunch of people can go…”

Another said it had become habit to become “extra-cautious,” and that “we've gotten used to going without, so a little less shopping is okay.”