Metro Atlanta’s biggest malls reopening under strict guidelines

Metro Atlanta's biggest malls reopening under strict guidelines

ATLANTA — Some malls in metro Atlanta and across north Georgia are reopening under significant changes to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Many malls have been closed for more than a month due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Simon real estate company, which operates several popular malls in metro Atlanta, said in March that they were closing to protect its shoppers and workers.

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They originally planned to open on Friday, but pushed the opening of local malls to Monday.

A cluster of shoppers stood outside Lenox Square right before the doors opened at 11 a.m. Some shoppers wore masks, some did not. NewsChopper 2 flew over several open malls and the parking lots remained largely empty.

Shopper Aleasa Word said she’s going to wait until she feels safe. “You put business owners at risk, you put people in your home at risk when you come back,” Word said.

Inside Mall of Georgia, some people gathered at Replay Arcade. “We want to make sure we’re supporting local businesses and help them stay afloat and get back on their feet." one shopper said.

Here are the changes you can expect at Simon Malls, including Lenox Square, Phipps Plaza and the Mall of Georgia.

  • Employees will be required to screen themselves at home. Anyone with a fever over 100.4 degrees or flu-like symptoms they will be required to stay home.
  • Properties will be limited to a target level of 1 person per 50 square feet. Entrances will be restricted.
  • Employees and security will be actively reminding people to maintain proper distances from other shoppers.
  • Food Court seating will be limited and spaced out. Reusable trays, cups etc will not be available.
  • All play areas and stroller/valet stations and drinking fountains will be closed.
  • Signs will be set up to encourage better traffic flow in common areas.
  • In restrooms every other sink and urinal will be taped off to encourage proper spacing between individuals.
  • Each night there will be enhanced sanitizing and disinfecting to meet CDC guidelines.

There are also several plans set up for individual shoppers.

  • Shoppers are encouraged to check their temperature and stay home if they have flu-like symptoms.
  • Shoppers are encouraged to wear masks or facial coverings while in the mall. They are also encouraged to frequently wash their hands or use sanitizer. Masks and sanitizing wipes. Free temperature testing will also be available.

Here’s a list on when malls are planning to reopen:

  • Lenox Square: Beginning May 4, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
  • Phipps Plaza: Beginning May 4, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
  • Mall of Georgia: Beginning May 4, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
  • Town Center Cobb: Beginning May 4, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
  • North Georgia Premium outlets: Beginning May 1, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
  • Sugarloaf Mills: Beginning May 4, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
  • Calhoun Outlet Marketplace: Beginning May 1, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Mark Toro is with North American Properties, the developer of Avalon in Alpharetta. The outdoor live-work-play has opened back up for the first time in weeks and he expects more businesses to soon follow.

North Point Mall in Alpharetta said in a statement it is working on plans to reopen.

Macy’s said it’s planning to gradually reopen all of its stores, beginning with retail spots in Georgia Monday. The department store giant is planning to reopen 68 department stores Monday, according to CNBC.

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