Updated: May 16, 2020 11:07 PM
Created: May 16, 2020 10:26 PM
The parking lots at Rosedale Center are quiet; only a few cars are in place.
But beginning Monday, shoppers will be permitted back inside as Minnesota joins other states that have allowed malls to reopen — with restrictions.
"Hopefully, people can kind of try and take awareness of their space,” said Kaiden Kuhlman of St. Paul. “I want people to try to be as safe as possible.”
Rosedale is planning to operate at 50% capacity.
A spokesperson says initially, only 25 of 200 stores will be opening their doors.
"They have social distancing and floor markers for 6 feet away from the registers,” said Sarah Fossen, Rosedale’s marketing director. “Frequent touch points have to be cleaned, and fixtures may have to be moved to allow stores to open up enough.”
Rosedale Center management is also asking patrons to wear masks.
Fossen says only entrance “B” near the Von Maur store will be open.
She says common areas, such as play areas, stroller pickups, photo booths and massage chairs will be closed or cordoned off, and any seating removed.
Touch screen directories will be turned off, and guest services stations will be open for information services only.
Managers are asking shoppers to use their smartphones to map out locations in the mall.
As for dressing rooms, Fossen says some stores will keep them closed but others are trying something different.
"Quite a few stores are steaming garments multiple times and/or holding them in a special place and not putting them out right away,” she said.
Normally, Rosedale Center is a workplace for 1,300 people, and about 14 million shoppers visit Rosedale every year, Fossen said.
Since March 27, there have been none.
“I won't go to a mall, or a restaurant or a bar when they open,” said Rodney Dorr of Columbia Heights.
Dorr keeps cleaning products in his truck, and says he wipes down everything he buys at the store.
"It's too risky,” he said. “I think we're opening up too fast, and there's still a lot of people out there that probably have the coronavirus."
Still, some shoppers believe malls have plenty of room for social distancing — and that it’s just time to reopen.
“I think it’ll be fine,” says Terry Beaudry, of Roseville. “There’s some people that really want to get out and back to the ‘new normal.’ Get rid of that, and let’s just go. It’s time.”
Fossen says staffers will be monitoring doors and parking lots, to keep tabs on how many people are going inside.
She says the entire mall has, and will continue to be deep-cleaned in line with CDC standards.
There will also be hand sanitizer stations positioned throughout the mall.
“Safety and health of our retailers, our employees, and our shoppers is our top priority,” Fossen says.
Galleria Edina and Ridgedale Center have announced they too, will be opening on Monday.
Mall of America plans to open its doors on June 1st.
In the end, for many, what used to be the simple act of going to the mall, is now, even more so, a personal decision.
“Those who would rather not wear masks, just choose not to shop there,” Kuhlman says. “If you’re not going to wear the mask, then stay safe and don’t be there, I guess.”
Copyright 2020 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company