KENNESAW — Town Center at Cobb was one of many malls that parent company Simon Malls opened across the country, to fewer customers than normal, after several weeks of being closed due to concerns about the coronavirus and related shutdowns.
The mall is now open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. Many stores remained closed at the mall Monday, including Starbucks, Victoria Secret, Helzberg Diamonds and the Build-A-Bear Workshop. Some of the larger retailers and kiosks were open, but others were closed.
Outside some of the anchor stores at the mall, like Macy’s, a few people at a time entered and exited the mall at one of the preferred entrances. Many shoppers wore masks and some also wore gloves. Others did not wear protective coverings.
Dekota Luhrman went to the mall to get a haircut with his son, Gunner. He said those at the barbershop there took extra steps to keep customers and employees safe.
“I think everyone is trying to get their hair cut,” Dekotah Lurman said. “The barbers were on opposite sides. All the barbers had gloves and masks on.”
Rod Anderson wore a mask to go into the mall, where he also went to get a haircut.
“I’m not really here to shop,” he said.
Leticia Cruz was concerned about the coronavirus, but she needed summer clothes for her family, she said.
“It’s good and bad, you know?” she said of the mall’s reopening. “It’s an easy way to get (the coronavirus,) but I also feel like life, it has to go on. You just kind of have to find a way to distance yourself.”
Simon Malls announced in a news release that all of its malls that opened Monday, including also Lenox Square Mall, Mall of Georgia, Phipps Plaza and Sugarloaf Mills, did so with new safety standards under a COVID-19 exposure control policy. All of the Simon-owned malls closed March 19.
“The health, safety and well-being of those we serve will always be our highest priority, and we have developed a thorough and detailed set of protocols highlighting the exceptional measures we’ve implemented to safeguard shoppers, retailers and employees as we reopen,” said John Rulli, president of Simon in a statement. “We also recognize that individuals and families in our communities are suffering significant hardship as a result of both COVID-19 and the economic shutdown, and we believe that reopening our properties will not only help people get back to work during these challenging times, but also enable us to use our properties to further support charitable initiatives.”
The new safety measures include:
♦ face masks and other safety protocols for employees, including maintaining 6 feet of distance from co-workers and shoppers
♦ limiting and spacing food court seating and common area seating, and using no reusable trays in the food court
♦ closing all play areas, stroller and valet stations and drinking fountains temporarily
♦ directional signage and floor decals for traffic flow
♦ taping off every other sink and urinal in restrooms
♦ thorough sanitizing and disinfecting every night, and regular disinfecting highly touched areas such as restrooms, directories, handrails and doorknobs during mall hours.
♦ signs and announcements reminding customers of social distancing guidelines
A spokesperson for Simon Malls told the MDJ media weren’t allowed inside the mall Monday.
Cumberland Mall is scheduled to open Tuesday, also 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.
— The Associated Press contributed to this report.