Other malls throughout Georgia are also announcing their reopening plans with safety protocols in place as part of their efforts to limit the possibility of new Covid-19 infections. Covid-19 is the potentially fatal respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus. The Georgia Department of Public Health reported May 1 there have been more than 1,130 deaths due to Covid-19 and nearly 27,000 confirmed cases.
A message on Simon Property’s website lists the dates when its malls across the U.S. and in Canada plan to reopen in May based on current state and local shelter-in-place orders. Most retail businesses in Georgia have been closed after Gov. Brian Kemp ordered a statewide lockdown in early April to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The shelter-in-place order expired at 11:59 p.m. on April 30.
“We now expect to open [our properties] in the first half of May based on current state and/or local stay-at-home or closure orders which are subject to change,” Simon Property says on its website. The message includes a list of malls in Georgia and across the U.S. and Canada along with their planned reopening dates. Simon Property malls in Georgia that are reopening May 1 are Calhoun Outlet Marketplace and North Georgia Premium Outlets in Dawson County.
The Simon Property (NYSE: SPG) website also includes safety protocols being implemented at their properties, including screening employees for fevers, requiring employees to wear face masks, enforcing social distancing and increased sanitizing and disinfecting of stores, public spaces and restrooms.
“Our safety protocols have been reviewed and approved by experts in epidemiology and environmental health and safety,” Simon Property said on its website. “They provide our employees, your employees, contractors, vendors and shoppers with directions and safety protocols to help prevent further spread of the Covid-19 virus.”
Other malls have also announced reopening dates following Kemp’s lifting of the month-long statewide shelter-in-place order. The malls will reopen with safety guidelines in place to limit crowd interaction to try to stem new Covid-19 infections, according to their websites. Precautions include reduced hours, enforcement of social distancing, extra sanitation protocols, barring children from play areas, prohibiting dine-in eating in food courts and encouraging or mandating employees wear face masks.
Macy’s Inc. (NYSE: M) is also starting to open its stores back up for business on May 1, according to reports.
A roundup of mall reopenings:
- Simon Property Group’s malls opening May 4 are: Lenox Square, Mall of Georgia/Village Shops, Phipps Plaza, Sugarloaf Mills, Town Center at Cobb. Hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. on Sundays.
- Greenbriar Mall on Greebriar Parkway opens today, May 1, with Monday through Saturday hours from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday hours from noon to 6 p.m. In addition to social distancing and sanitizing, the mall is now allowing stroller and wheelchair rentals until further notice, is closing off the children’s play area until further notice and suspending mall events, including mall walking, until further notice.
- Brookfield Properties’ (Nasdaq: BPR) North Point Mall in Alpharetta and Perimeter Mall in Dunwoody will reopen Tuesday, May 5, with Monday-Saturday hours from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday hours from noon to 6 p.m.
- Tanger Factory Outlets Centers Inc. (NYSE: SKT) is planning to reopen its Georgia sites in Commerce, Locust Grove and Savannah by May 15.
Kemp’s push to reopen the state’s economy, devastated by the Covid-19 pandemic, has drawn many notable critics, including Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and several public health experts. While Kemp and the Georgia Department of Public Health say the state has seen a flattening of new Covid-19 infections, other medical experts warn that reopening the state too soon could cause a second wave of new infections.