By Chris Isaac
As the “green phase” spreads throughout Pennsylvania and starts lifting social restrictions, that also means the return of shopping malls. PREIT has announced that on June 26 four of their malls in the area will be open for business, including the Willow Grove and Plymouth Meeting malls.
PREIT’s New Jersey malls won’t be far behind, with three locations in the state set to open on June 29, including the Cherry Hill mall.
This will of course be a big relief for employees eager to get back to work, as well as customers who have been suffering from cabin fever.
However, these openings do not quite mean that everything will be just as it was. The threat of COVID-19 is still a reality, and it is one that PREIT is taking seriously in order to keep everyone safe.
As such, some announced changes to PREIT’s mall locations include the removal of furniture in common areas to discourage people from congregating together and violating social distancing guidelines.
Likewise, malls with play areas for children will be keeping these sections closed. Additionally, limitations will be placed on food court areas to minimize crowding.
For the time being, even once the green phase begins, PREIT’s malls will also be enforcing limited occupancy. Though for those who still worry despite all these precautions, the “Mall2Go” service is also being offered which provides contactless pickup for customers.
Regardless of how you choose to shop, you will nonetheless need to make some scheduling adjustments, as the new hours for PREIT’s locations will be 11am-7pm on Monday through Saturday, and just 12pm-6pm on Sundays.
It is also recommended to check ahead if you are planning to visit a specific store, as not all businesses are planning to immediately reopen within the malls despite the option to do so.
Shoppers will still be required to wear masks to enter the mall even during this reopening, and PREIT wants to assure everyone that their housekeeping and maintenance staff will be working diligently to ensure everything is sterilized each day, especially surfaces which see a frequent amount of touching.
In an official statement regarding the malls reopening to the public, Joseph F. Coradino, PREIT’s Chairman and CEO said, “With retail accounting for 1 in 4 jobs in the country, malls are critical to local economic engines and we are thrilled to be able to participate in the recovery of local economies. We are seeing great demand at our recently re-opened properties and look forward to safely recharging our suburban Philadelphia communities.”
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