CHERRY HILL, N.J. (CBS) — New Jersey is getting ready to turn on another economic engine in the reopening. Indoor shopping malls will soon be back in business, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Thursday.
Malls will be allowed to resume in-person sales come June 29, but a barrier will stay up outside of the Cherry Hill Mall. When the mall doors do reopen, customers will only be able to access two entrances.
“It is odd, but we are looking forward to getting back to our new normal,” Cherry Hill Mall Senior Marketing Director Lisa Wolstroner said.
NEW: Indoor portions of retail shopping malls may REOPEN on 6/29:
😷Masks required to be worn
👥All stores limited to 50% capacity
🍽️Restaurants may provide take-out or outdoor dining
🚫Food court seating and common seating areas remain closed
❌Theaters and arcades remain closed pic.twitter.com/fZ0gMQHynB
— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) June 18, 2020
It’s a strange scene — no shoppers, no staff, just empty hallways on a Thursday afternoon.
But a week from Monday, the Cherry Hill Mall will be buzzing with customers again.
“We started curbside pickup about a month ago and that’s been very active. On June 15, some of our mall stores with exterior entrances opened,” Wolstroner said.
The mall has amped up its health safety.
There are hand sanitizer stations throughout the building and social distancing is being enforced in the restrooms. There’s no longer seating for customers to discourage crowds gathering and water fountains have also been boarded up.
“It’s required to wear a mask to come into the mall. If you come to the mall and you don’t have a mask, we’ll have a welcome station where we can give you a mask,” Wolstroner said.
You’ll also notice signage throughout the mall encouraging social distancing on the escalator and elevator.
CBS3 spotted some shoppers outside of Urban Outfitters who are excited to get back inside retail stores.
“The whole pandemic, it was like terrible. You couldn’t get anything, couldn’t go nowhere,” Willingboro resident Amira Hargrove said.
“Me and Jake like to go shopping every week, because it’s like our thing together so like since quarantine, we couldn’t really do that,” Delran resident Emily Jones said.
Shoppers say they’re adjusting to the new normal and they’re hopeful it’s accompanied by a discount.
The mall capacity will be limited to 50%. The hours will also be adjusted from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. on Sundays.
Additionally, restaurants inside malls can offer takeout or outdoor dining, but food court seating and common seating areas will remain closed.
Theaters and arcades will also remain closed at this time.
“Malls are part of New Jersey culture and lure,” Murphy said. “We want these businesses to get back up and running responsibly and safely. If you head out to the mall, please comply with the requirements in place.”
Murphy reported 442 new coronavirus cases as the statewide total tops 168,000. There were also another 38 deaths due to COVID-19-related complications.
The state’s death toll now stands at 12,800.