Shoppers experience new normal at regional malls and outlet stores

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Talk about retail therapy.

Monday, marked the first day all retailers at regional malls and outlet stores could open. Retailers that planned to were asked to have a safety plan in place. 

Of the 60 plus Shops at Arbor Lakes in Maple Grove, only a handful welcomed people inside to experience the "new normal." 

Heidi Haalland of Rogers was there as soon as the doors opened at Leela & Lavendar.

"I didn't realize how much I love to be out shopping and be around all of this until I couldn't do it anymore," she said. 

Haalland and others treated their first shopping trip in two months like a treasure hunt.

Malls begin to reopen during Walz's new 'stay safe Minnesota' order

"I bet we had close to 50 people so far," said Elke Redding, the manager at Leela & Lavendar. "Twice today we've reached capacity, which for this location is 15 people."

Redding walked around the store and showed the significant changes that came with the reopening. 

"Everyone inside, whether shoppers or staff, are required to wear masks," Redding said

There's a sanitation station at the door and a plexiglass barrier at the register. Shoppers are also asked to pay by credit card only. 

The store has also reduced the number of fitting rooms that are available.  As for the unwanted clothes left behind, they're set aside on a special rack to either air out for 24 hours or get a steam cleaning before they become available again.

With the exception of Mall of America, which is set to reopen on June 1, all regional malls and outlets began the slow restart Monday. 

Retail managers said online sales helped a bit while the 'stay at home' order was in place. 

Other stores are waiting and watching how receptive shoppers are to the new norm.