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Shopping Malls Open Doors Under 'Phase One' Guidelines

shopping mall

Shopping malls in Virginia, like many other businesses, will be able to reopen Friday per the governor’s orders. But many restrictions and social distancing measures will remain in place. 

Steve Bonniville is president of Broad Sky Management, which manages Virginia Center Commons in Glen Allen and Regency Square Mall in Tuckahoe. He said shoppers can expect to see all customer-facing employees in masks. Shoppers are encouraged to wear them too. 

The governor’s guidelines for entering Phase One of reopening the state requires non-essential retail stores to operate at half the capacity. Bonniville said each store will be responsible for maintaining occupancy regulations. 

But, he doesn’t know what to expect in terms of turnout. 

“Not a hundred percent sure that everybody is ready to rush out immediately,” he said. “There’s a mixed response out in the public, as far as you know, moving into phase one in Virginia. We’re just giving our tenants the opportunity to open and conduct business.”

Bonniville said food-court seating will be closed off in the shopping centers, but patrons can still get food to go.

Security guards will be watching to make sure groups are not gathering. The governor’s 10-person limit on gatherings remains in effect. 

Bonniville also pointed out that his Virginia Center Commons and Regency Square will also have reduced hours. 

The governor’s guidelines ask that non-essential retailers put up signs or tape off areas where individuals gather -- especially at entrances, in seating areas, and in check-out lines -- to help shoppers keep a safe distance.

Businesses have also been asked to increase cleaning and disinfecting of high-contact surfaces and provide spaces where employees and customers can wash or sanitize their hands.  


Whittney Evans is VPM News’ features editor.
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