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Customers Begin Exploring Bay Area Shopping Malls In Age Of COVID

CONCORD (KPIX 5) -- As some shopping malls reopen their doors in the Bay Area, the big question remains: will people return and embrace the new retail experience in the era of COVID?

There are 152 tenants in Concord's Sun Valley Mall and nearly 70 are open. Each store is enforcing mask and social distancing. In fact, you can't even enter the mall at all unless you wear a mask says General Manager Nathan Fackrell.

"We're open for business!" said Fackrell. "After these three long months, we've taken all the precautions necessary."

Self described "sneaker head" Moo Gatewood wasn't at the mall just to look. "Man, as soon as I heard the mall was reopening, it was great news to my ears!"

Gatewood said the new requirements, mask, sanitizer, and social distancing didn't bother him as he prepared to find and buy his next pair of shoes.

"Probably looking for to spend total to spend 25 a day, if anything, cause I'm going to make that back," he said, clarifying he meant $2,500. "Yeah, just on shoes. If the shoes are there and available and I can spend that much, I'm going to buy them!"

The Shoe Palace was open, so Moo was in heaven.

Outside, four-year-old twins Nava and Maya arrived with their mom, purses in hand. "We were just excited that we can get a little bit of normalcy about, you know, with all this thing happening right now but yeah, we were excited."

Many stores have promotions. Sales in some are 75 percent, trying to clear inventory leftover since March.

However a kiosk selling masks was not discounting anything. Masks start at $10, $25 for fancy sports masks.

Overall, security is tight, sanitation strict, and slowly, more businesses will be opening.

And for those for whom Nature calls?

We do have public restrooms open with all the social distancing protocols in place, yes" said Fackrell.

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