Simon Property Group to reopen 49 malls throughout the U.S.
Some 49 mall properties owned by Simon Property Group are scheduled to begin reopening this week.
The American commercial real estate company, which is also the biggest mall owner in the U.S., will begin reopening these malls and outlet centers on Friday, and continue openings through Monday. Locations set to restart business are located in Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Indiana, Missouri and Texas, including Lenox Square in Atlanta, West Town Mall in Knoxville, and The Domain in Austin, among others.
In order to quell health safety worries, Simon Property Group said it will take multiple measures, including providing free CDC-approved masks and hand sanitizing packets to shoppers who request them, requiring employees to wear masks at work, limiting hours and enforcing distancing rules, according to industry reports. In addition, the company will make free temperature testing available to customers at the malls using infrared thermometers.
Individual retailers located at all of the soon-to-reopen malls and outlets will be independently responsible for deciding whether or not to resume business.
The reopenings come as states around the U.S., including Nevada, California, Colorado, Oregon and Washington - states that recently joined together under the 'Western States Pact' - as well as Georgia and South Carolina, announce plans to reopen their economies amidst the pandemic.
Of these states, many have emphasized that their plans to ease restrictions will include the upholding of new and existing safety and social distancing measures. However, to date no state has reached the federally recommended two-week decline in cases to ensure a safe reopening, and some experts say that easing restrictions too soon will result in a new wave of Covid-19 infections and deaths.
While health concerns persist, the shadow of a nationwide economic downturn continues to stir further anxiety: by April 16, 22 million Americans had filed for unemployment due to the pandemic's impact.
Earlier this month, President Donald Trump and his administration announced a push to resume regular activity in some states by May 1.
Simon first announced the temporary close of all its properties in response to the pandemic on March 18.
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