PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Back in business!
The Gardens Mall in Palm Beach Gardens opened up stores Friday at 11 a.m. after being closed for about two months because of the coronavirus pandemic.
All employees and mall management will be wearing masks, said Whitney Pettis Jester, the director of marketing and merchant relations at the Gardens Mall.
"Every morning when we come in, we have a health screening. We have our temperatures checked. We are all wearing masks, that’s everyone from management to our mall GM marketing to our housekeeping staff security," said Jester.
Occupancy in the mall is limited to 25 percent, and tables in the food court are spaced 6 feet apart.
Cards are placed on tables at the food court to let customers know it has been sanitized and available to sit down and eat.
Jester said 40 stores reopened on Friday with an additional 13 stores available for curbside pickup or private appointment. A few stores are only allowing curbside pickup.
Sears opened Friday, Saks Fifth Avenue is opening Saturday and Macy's is opening on Monday. However, there is no reopening date for the Apple store.
Many of the changes put in place at the mall are based on feedback from shoppers.
"We surveyed about 13,000 people on Instagram stories, as well as an e-blast, on what will make them feel comfortable coming back and shopping with us and dining with us. We got some really good feedback. We took everything into account, and that’s how we created these new procedures," said Jester.
Customers are asked to wear masks, but it is not required. Markers are placed on the floor to keep customers 6 feet apart.
"I’m excited to be out. I'm ready to get out, and do it safely with my children and respectfully to the people around us, but it’s been really hard," said Palm Beach Gardens resident Tracey Benson.
The mall's stroller rental is no longer available, but strollers are available for purchase for $20, and the money will be donated to the Quantum House.
Elevators are reserved for strollers and disabled shoppers.
Restaurants are not inviting guests to dine in, but take out is available for customers.
Jester said about 20 more stores will open in the next five days.
"It’s feeling normal again, somewhat, day by day. We just have to start feeling normal again, or it’s just going to make it worse for everybody, I think," said Benson.
Daily hours of operation for the mall are Monday through Saturday from 11a.m. to 7 p.m and Sundays noon to 6 p.m.
Click here for a full list of stores that are currently open at the Gardens Mall.
Watch below as Taste and See Reporter T.A. Walker took a walk through the mall when it reopened Friday morning: