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Connecticut shopping malls implement precautionary measures when reopening on May 20th

Even though their doors will reopen, they will come with a new set of rules.

Shopping malls are also included in phase one. Shoppers will notice some changes if you decide to go out and shop next Wednesday. 

For close to two months, the parking lots of malls have been extremely empty but come next Wednesday, they could start to fill up again. Even though their doors will reopen, they will come with a new set of rules. 

Retail in Connecticut has not come to a complete stop. Curbside pickup of online orders has been ongoing here from the outset of the pandemic while some states are just allowing it now. 

However, come next Wednesday, the full live experience of shopping wil start a comeback 

Indra Nooyi with the Connecticut Reopening Task Force believes there are more to malls than just shopping.

"Going to a mall or a retail store was just as much the experience of actually getting out of the house and walking around and experiencing things as it was actually buying the stuff. People are dying to get out and enjoy the outdoors and shop as they go along and malls are an important part of that whole experience," said Nooyi. 

So far, Westfarms Mall and Westfield Malls have announced they will be opening their doors on the 20th. For Westfarms, the general manager believed not all stores may open on the first day back 

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"We're typically seeing 40 to 50-percent of the stores opening on day one. It's a lot of our store to open. They've got a lot to do. They've got to re-hire in many cases, bring back furloughed employees, come in and do actual physical things in their store to prepare for the public 

Shoppers will notice a difference as soon as they walk to the entrance. 

"These doors that you see behind me. They'll all be propped open during business hours. Right-hand side will be to enter the mall. Left-hand side will be to exit the mall," said Kevin Keenan, general manager for Westfarms Mall.

Westfarms Mall will be taking these precautionary measures: 

  • Disinfecting and cleaning regularly 
  • Hand sanitizer will be found throughout the mall 
  • Employees and shoppers will be mandated to wear face masks
  • Water fountains will be shut off
  • Furniture will be re-arranged to allow social distancing 

As for restaurants at the mall, only outdoor dining and curbside pickup will be allowed. 

"I only have one restaurant right now that has outside dining and that's PF Chang's and so we would expect them to take advantage of that opportunity," added Keenan. 

Westfield Malls are initiating similar protocols: 

  • There will be crowd control 
  • Stepping up their cleaning measures
  • Hand washing stations available 

Westfarms Mall will have reduced hours: Monday through Saturday - 11 a.m to 7 p.m. and Sunday - 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

Westfield Malls will be Monday through Saturday - 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday - 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. 

A spokesperson at the Shoppes at Buckland Hills says the mall is working on reopening safely but released no date.