KING OF PRUSSIA, PA — After months of closure, the King of Prussia Mall will officially reopen its doors on Friday as Montgomery County moves into the green phase of coronavirus mitigation, the most lax phase of the state's reopening plan. Numerous health measures will be in place that will make the mall experience a bit different than it was before the outbreak.
Simon, the owner of the mall, said that they would follow a general mitigation protocol, but declined to provide many details about King of Prussia specifically. The mall has been shuttered since March 14, shortly after the outbreak of the virus in the local area. Their doors will open up again for the limited hours of 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on June 26.
While employees have been instructed to wear masks, it remains unclear what the mall's policy will be on customers wearing masks. Their protocol states that customers are "encouraged" to wear masks, but the word required is not used and the mall did not specify whether or not they would be enforcing this "encouragement."
A spokesperson for Simon declined to clarify their policy at King of Prussia on Thursday. Neighboring malls, like Plymouth Meeting, are requiring masks for all customers.
Free masks and sanitizing wipe packets will be available to all customers at designated entrances to the mall, and the mall office, according to the mitigation protocols.
Local leaders continue to urge residents to wear masks in public settings whenever possible. Most outdoor dining establishments that have reopened this month in Montgomery County require customers to wear a mask at all times unless they are sitting at their table.
"As the coronavirus continues to remain in our community, each of us must be personally responsible for our actions and work together to minimize the spread of COVID-19 in Montgomery County," Commissioner Val Arkoosh said Wednesday.
Simon will be monitoring the occupancy of the mall, and plans to limit each area to a maximum density of 50 square feet per-person. The mall did not specify how many shoppers this would be, as it will vary based on the section of the property. If this maximum occupancy is reached, customers will be asked to wait in their cars or in lines outside.
Once customers are inside individual stores, it's up to that tenant to monitor the occupancy and keep things at a safe level that allows for social distancing. It's also up to that tenant to enforce wearing a mask.0000000000000000000000000000000000
In the mall proper, social distancing will be implemented through various means, including signage, routine public service announcements, and encouragement from security staff.
Additionally, hand sanitizer stations will be set up throughout the common areas of the mall.
Simon employees will have their body temperatures checked with a thermometer. Anyone with a temperature over 100.4 or with flu-like symptoms will be sent home. Individual tenants have been told to do the same thing.
In other Simon properties around the nation, temperature-taking was offered for customers via infrared thermometers, but that measure will not be in place at King of Prussia.
Frequent touch points will be disinfected regularly, Simon said. That includes doorknobs and door handles, counters, transaction registers and computer touchscreens, railings, and more.
Simon also not issued an official statement on whether their food court will be open in some capacity.
The mall began to reopen restaurants with outdoor seating and stores with public-facing entrances in recent weeks, following Montgomery County's move to the yellow phase. For a full list of stores open for in-store shopping before Friday, see here. In addition, 53 stores remained open for curbside pickup.
But not all major department stores with separate entrances have been open in the yellow phase. Friday will mark the reopening of Lord and Taylor, Primark, H&M, and others that have been closed to in-store shopping since March.
The mall's initial closure came days after Gov. Wolf first requested all non-essential retail to close, before it became mandatory. The mall remained one of the only major Montgomery County businesses to flout Wolf's request, along with Simon's Montgomery Mall. At the time, more than 1,300 people signed a Change.org petition urging the mall to close.