KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa. (WLVT) - Shopping meccas like the Lehigh Valley and King of Prussia malls will operate under new directives when they get the green-light to reopen under Governor Wolf’s phased reopening plan.
In March, the largest mall operator in the U.S., Simon Property Group, closed over 200 of its retail properties due to the Covid-19 pandemic, including the King of Prussia and Lehigh Valley malls.
The group’s owner, David Simon, is on President Trump’s advisory board to restart the economy. Simon has stated that he’s focused on getting local economies ‘’back to business.’’
He began reopening a few dozen of his mall properties on May 1st, under the guidance of a robust safety plan. The measures include safety training and daily temperature checks for staff, limited store hours and shoppers are offered hand sanitizer and face masks at the door.
NEW SHOPPING EXPERIENCE
Eric Goldstein, executive director of the King of Prussia District, says shoppers at King of Prussia mall will notice changes like decals on floors to direct traffic flow, limited food court seating and play areas and fountains closed off, all caveats of Simon's proposed reopening plan.
''It may look a little bit different, wearing masks or having limitations on the number of people allowed into restaurants and retail locations,'' Goldstein told PBS39. ''I still think people are going to go out and start doing things again because let’s face it, it’s human nature.''
Ryan Rosenbaum, executive director of the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce, says his retail and restaurant members from the King of Prussia mall are eager to reopen.
''The mall is a big aspect of business in Montgomery County, and especially in the King of Prussia and Upper Merion areas,'' Rosenbaum said. ''It’s lives versus livelihoods. They want health and safety, but they also want to be able to conduct commerce and provide for their families.''
Under Simon’s mall reopening plan, the number of entrances to each property will be limited and occupancy will not exceed one person per 50 square feet of space. Retailers and other tenants are encouraged to use technology, such as Apple Pay, that allows for contactless transactions.
The company said it will regularly sanitize high-touch areas like food court tables, escalators, door knobs and mall directories.
Neither King of Prussia or Lehigh Valley malls are currently eligible to reopen under the governor's phased reopening plan.