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Coronavirus Update: Struggling California Malls Prepare For Business Not-As-Usual With Phase 2 Reopenings

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) -- As part of the loosening into Phase 2 modifications, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday some malls can now partially re-open for curbside pickup only. The era of lazily wandering from store to store and nibbling on a pretzel is dead -- at least for now.

The move comes weeks into the stay-at-home order, but was it already too late for the American mall? Pamela Danziger, the owner of Unity Marketing and a contributor to Forbes, thinks so.

"It's going to be devastating to the entire mall sector," Danziger told KPIX 5 via Skype. "Time will tell, but I really think we're gonna see a radical restructuring of American retail."

Major malls in Northern California, including Arden Fair in Sacramento are losing anchor tenants - including Nordstrom, which announced last week it was closing all of its stores.

Danziger says malls went into the pandemic very, very weak, and some - but not all - will make it out of the crisis.

"Malls which have - are more luxury leaning they have solid anchor stores - it's going to separate the winners from the losers and there's going to be a whole lot more in the losing category as a result of this thing."

With J. Crew filing for bankruptcy and J.C. Penney on the brink, more troubles could be ahead, even with the updated shelter-in-place order and modifications.

"None of this matters if customers don't feel safe — employees don't feel safe," said Gov. Newsom.

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