San Diego area malls welcome back shoppers in a COVID-19 world

Local

SAN DIEGO – Several local malls opened for customers Saturday after nearly two months of closures.

Fashion Valley Mall, Las Americas and Carlsbad Premium Outlets all opened Saturday with new safety measures in place. The reopenings come this weekend in San Diego County after the state approved a plan by local officials Wednesday which allows dine-in restaurants and in-store retail shopping to return.

Four more shopping malls are scheduled to join them May 29, the latest in a flurry of local reopenings including many recreational activities, restaurants and casinos.

“All shoppers are encouraged to wear a mask or facial covering while shopping,” Fashion Valley Mall General Manager Bob Doherty said, “and we will provide masks and any gloves to shoppers in the management office if they would so desire.”

Under new guidelines, employees now will be screened to make sure they are symptom-free and shoppers are being encouraged to stay home if they’ve experienced symptoms in the past 72 hours, Doherty said. Enhanced sanitation efforts are being targeted on high-traffic areas.

Social distancing practices remain in place, including limiting the amount of customers allowed inside stores at one time.

More than 5,000 workers are employed at the three mall properties, though not all of the stores inside the malls have reopened.

“For us, the first step was to reopen the property and get the tenants to reopen as quickly and as safely as possible and we are expecting those tenant openings to accelerate now that we’ve reopened,” Doherty said.

Customers can check the Fashion Valley Mall website ahead of time to see which stores are open.

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