JERSEY CITY, NJ — New Jersey is known for its malls and shopping centers, and several of them in Jersey City are particularly popular with New Yorkers, with access to public transportation and 3.5 percent sales tax. Whenever Simon reopens its Newport Centre Mall on the Jersey City waterfront, and two smaller shopping centers nearby, they may look a little different due to precautions for coronavirus.
(Note: some of the individual businesses in these malls may already be open if they're considered essential, or just open for delivery and pickup.)
Simon Property Group runs a total of 13 malls and shopping centers in New Jersey. They also own malls across the country, and have reopened 59 of them in 13 states where the virus has not hit as hard, such as the Galleria in Houston, Texas.
Simon has taken a lot of precautions in those malls, and they offer more than a glimpse of what could happen in New Jersey.
While the reopening date for nonessential businesses in New Jersey remains unknown, Simon has listed what they are doing to prepare for reopening in their other malls.
Gov. Murphy recently said he will allow small businesses to open when statistics indicate it's safe. Read more: Gov. Murphy May Allow Small Businesses To Reopen Amid Coronavirus
He also said he plans to provide "hard dates" for reopening the state's economy by the end of this week. Read more: NJ Coronavirus Updates: Here's What You Need To Know
Murphy also said Tuesday that he plans to provide a robust testing and contact tracing plan to increase safety. Read more: Gov. Murphy: 'Robust' Coronavirus Test, Tracing For Reopen Coming
So what should shoppers anticipate?
The malls will include signage directing people to stay six feet apart, and other messages. In fact, their website includes a rendering of what the outside of the Mills at Jersey Gardens in Elizabeth will look like with new signage.
The malls may also include fewer shopping hours at the beginning. Business hours in some malls have been limited from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday to allow for enhanced sanitizing.
Here is what else Simon has been doing at its malls:
- Food courts are takeout only, entrances are limited, and temperature-taking will be offered via infrared thermometers.
- The malls are aiming to not exceed a targeted level of one shopper per 50 square of space.
- Restricting the number of entrances to properties and, like grocery stores, will establish lines to manage traffic.
- Requiring employees to wear protective equipment on the job. The company said it is recommending that tenants follow suit.
- Individual tenants within malls are responsible for managing the occupancy in their specific stores. The properties will be sanitized nightly, the company said.
Here's a list of Simon malls and shopping centers in New Jersey. (Some of the stores in the shopping centers may already be open for delivery, pickup, and online orders, and essential businesses like food stores may be open.)
- Newport Centre in Jersey City (a mall near the PATH station and waterfront)
- Newport Plaza in Jersey City (a shopping center near Newport Mall, including BestBuy)
- Newport Crossing in Jersey City (a shopping center near the mall, including Staples)
- The Mills at Jersey Gardens in Elizabeth
- The Shops at Riverside in Hackensack
- Livingston Mall in Livingston
- Menlo Park Mall in Edison
- Rockaway Townsquare in Rockaway
- Quaker Bridge Mall in Lawrenceville
- Jackson Premium Outlets in Jackson
- Jersey Shore Premium Outlets In Tinton Falls
- Gloucester Premium Outlets in Blackwood
Announcing the reopening schedules in other states, Simon struck an optimistic note, saying that some of its tenants experienced "much stronger than expected sales" and citing "significant pent-up consumer demand."
"Shopper response to our reopenings has been very positive," the company said in a statement. "Initial traffic has been better than expected, and at times we have had to limit access to our properties to ensure enthusiastic shoppers adhere to the social distancing standards outlined in our COVID-19 safety protocols." (See video)
On Tuesday, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said the state had confirmed 898 new cases of the virus, and 198 more people had died since the day before. The state death toll is now 9,508. READ MORE.
On Thursday, April 30, the state had reached an all-time high death rate due to the virus. Murphy had said that 460 New Jerseyans had been lost to the virus in 24 hours, or one person every three minutes. After that, the rate gradually began to come down.
With reporting from Patch editors Justin Heinze and Lanning Taliaferro.
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