Shopping malls across the Detroit region are opening this week for the first time since closing their doors at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March. But things won’t go back to normal immediately.
“It’s going to take time to build trust with the customer, with the tenant. It will clearly be a step-by-step scenario.” — Dan Jones, Twelve Oaks
Great Lakes Crossing and Twelve Oaks Mall are the area’s first high-profile outlets to welcome in shoppers. Both malls share the same parent company and will be operating under similar safety policies.
Mall hours will be limited and shoppers will need to wear a mask. Customers hoping to shop in-person will be required to make an appointment with their desired store.
“We will be assisting our merchants with managing traffic flow,” says Dana Harvey, marketing and sponsorship director at Great Lakes Crossing. “If they have more than 10 customers that are interested in coming in we’ll be providing them with a virtual cuing system, but also making sure that our customers adhere to social distance guidelines.”
Only the stores that choose to return to in-person service will do so at this time.
Twelve Oaks Mall general manger Dan Jones says steps have been taken to cut down on opportunities for the virus to spread.
“We’ve eliminated high touch areas,” Jones says. “Whether it’s drinking fountains [or] food court trays. We will have the children’s play area closed for some time. We will not operate our valet service.”
In an effort to encourage carryout dining, Jones says chairs have been removed from the food court. He says seating areas throughout the mall have been trimmed and spread-out to ensure social distancing.
Jones thinks returning malls to regular service is a process that could take some time. He says trust will need to be built among tenants and customers before normal activity can resume.