With more U.S. states moving to ease restrictions on business, Simon Property Group plans this week to start reopening dozens of malls around the country that had closed due to the coronavirus.
Simon, the nation's largest mall operator, plans to reopen 21 Texas locations, including Houston Galleria and Grapevine Mills near Dallas, on Friday, while another 10 malls in Indiana will reopen Saturday. The company will reopen locations under distancing and sanitation guidelines detailed in a memo Simon sent to retailers. Simon employees will wear masks, regularly disinfectant common areas like escalator handrails and door knobs, and be checked daily for body temperature spikes, according to the memo.
"Employees with a fever or cold and flu-like symptoms such as a cough, sore throat, runny nose or body aches are required to stay home," the memo states.
Malls are set to reopen as a number states outline their own rules for how retailers can welcome back customers. In Texas, malls are being allowed to, but the food court and children's play area must remain closed. In Montana, all sections of malls reopened this week but employees and shoppers must adhere to the 6-feet social distancing rule wherever possible.
Simon's guidelines ask customers to cover their nose and mouth when they sneeze or cough and to thoroughly wash their hands in the bathrooms. Customers are also encouraged — but not required — to wear masks as well as to avoid overly crowded stores. The malls will provide shoppers with a free mask upon request.
Mall hours will be 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. on Sundays, according to Simon. Stroller stations and drinking fountains will remain closed.
Simonlast month after anchor stores like Macy's and Nordstrom's began closing their doors. It's unclear if all shops within the malls will open. Retail mainstays, including Victoria's Secret and Gap, due to coronavirus worries and haven't announced dates for reopening.