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North Texas malls open with reduced capacity, uncertain customer demand

This weekend is the first for reopened malls in Texas since mid-March.

In the first weekend of a reopened Texas, malls provided strict guidelines for consumers willing to enter stores for the first time in six weeks.

In Collin County, most stores at the Allen Premium Outlets remained closed on Saturday but the outdoor mall did attract a steady flow of vehicles, most just driving through, a retail rubbernecking of sorts.

Heather Morris, of Frisco, got out and walked around.

“I think they’re using this weekend as a test,” Morris said.

Morris stopped in at Atomic Salt, an eclectic jewelry and novelty tenant, which required all customers to wear masks and use hand sanitizer before entering.

She wanted “just to get out of the house and to be amongst people that aren’t in the house.” 

Morris said she just returned to her family Friday after her U.S. Navy deployment ended early due to the novel coronavirus. 

“I was on a ship for 10 months in the Mediterranean,” she said.

RELATED: Here’s what is reopening in Texas as Phase 1 begins Friday

Malls around North Texas, while open, do not resemble anything like what a typical weekend shopping experience looked like just a few months ago. There was just a smattering of vehicles in expansive parking lots.

In Dallas, NorthPark Center has just the north and south entrances open and labeled for curbside pickup. Its website helps customers keep up with which stores are open inside.

NorthPark requires a facial covering for entrance and is operating on limited hours that end at 6 p.m daily.

Back in Allen, most retailers have signs on the door informing customers when they might reopen.

For Morris, that’s enough. On this first weekend of the slow restart of retail, she’s just happy to be home to see it.

“It’s still kind of isolated but it’s nice to see people out and talking and getting around each other,” Morris said.

RELATED: Texas told store owners they could reopen Friday. So, did they?

Credit: WFAA
Here's a look at how many new cases of the novel coronavirus have been reported each day across Texas in the final two weeks of April.

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