On the heels of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's plan to reopen the Texas economy, the country's largest mall owner plans to reopen seven of its North Texas shopping centers starting on Friday, according to a report from CNBC.
Along with its properties in North Texas, Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group (NYSE: SPG) will open 42 other shopping centers across the country starting on Friday, according to an internal memo obtained by CNBC.
The local malls listed on the memo include:
- Allen Premium Outlets - Allen
- Firewheel Town Center - Garland
- Grand Prairie Premium Outlets - Grand Prairie
- Grapevine Mills - Grapevine
- North East Mall - Hurst
- The Shops at Clearfork - Fort Worth
- University Park Village - Fort Worth
Gov. Abbott's next phase of reopening Texas includes all retail stores, restaurants, movie theaters, and malls after recently relaunch retail-to-go, among other things. If these businesses do choose to reopen, they must operate at 25 percent capacity until at least May 18. If the spread of COVID-19 is contained by then, the state will reopen more businesses and increasing the capacity of existing open businesses to 50 percent.
Business hours at the malls and outlet centers will be limited to 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, to allow for overnight cleaning, according to the memo. Simon said it will regularly sanitize high-touch areas such as food court tables, escalators, doorknobs, and electronic directories, and is encouraging retailers to do the same. While the malls will be reopened, it is up to the retailers to choose to reopen for business.
Simon is encouraging shoppers to take their temperatures before going to the mall. At the mall, it will make free temperature testing available to customers, using infrared thermometers. Free CDC-approved masks and hand sanitizing packets will also be available for those that ask. Shoppers are encouraged to wear masks or other facial coverings while they shop while employees will be required to. They will also be asked to take “frequent breaks for handwashing.”
To ensure its employees and shoppers maintain distance, Simon is taking a number of steps. Those include putting tape over every other sink and urinal in restrooms; putting decals on floors to direct traffic flow; limiting food court seating, and keeping play areas and drinking fountains closed. The company said it will limit the number of entrances to each property and make sure that occupancy does not exceed one person per 50 square feet of space, using traffic measuring technology.
Simon Property Group did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Golden Triangle Mall in Denton will also be reopening on Friday, according to its website.
Other mall owners in North Texas, like Brookfield Properties, have not yet announced whether they will be reopening on Friday. The company owns Stonebriar Centre in Frisco, Town East Mall in Mesquite, The Parks in Arlington, and Hulen Mall in Fort Worth.