The Westchester in White Plains, Woodbury Common Premium Outlets and The Shops at Nanuet are among the shopping malls owned by Simon Property Group that the company announced were scheduled to reopen on May 16.
On May 6, however, state Sen. David Carlucci who represents New York’s 38th District including parts of Westchester and most of Rockland, issued a statement saying, in part, “I have spoken to Simon Property Group and they have reassured me that their malls in NYS are not reopening on May 6th, despite guidance they released. They said they are looking to work with the state so any reopening is done safely and responsibly.”
Simon, which has 209 properties in the U.S., had issued a reopening schedule for its malls that had been closed as part of the effort to fight the spread of COVID-19, noting that 59 of its properties around the nation have already reopened.
The closing of nonessential businesses in New York state through the NY PAUSE program remains in effect through at least May 15. There has been no announcement as of today from Gov. Cuomo or other state officials about what is to happen after May 15.
However, a four-phase reopening plan taking effect on a regional basis has been proposed with no time line for implementation. Various parameters with respect to the diminishing of impacts of the coronavirus would have to be met before businesses in any particular region of the state would be allowed to reopen.
Simon’s announcement of the planned May 16 reopenings did not reconcile its planned reopening date with the state’s reopening protocol.
Other Simon properties in New York state that were announced by the company to be reopening on May 16 had included Roosevelt Field, Walt Whitman Shops and Smith Haven Mall on Long Island and Waterloo Premium Outlets in the Finger Lakes region.
“We will utilize existing traffic measurement technologies at our properties to ensure that overall property occupancy does not exceed a targeted level of 1 person per 50 square feet of space,” John Rulli, president and CEO of Simon, said. “As needed, we will restrict the number of open entrances to the property while complying with local fire code requirements, and have queueing protocols in place to manage traffic. Each tenant will be responsible for managing to targets set by state or local authorities for their leased spaces.”
Rulli said that Simon’s employees, contractors and vendors would be required to screen themselves at home prior to coming to work. If they have a temperature exceeding 100.4 degrees or exhibit flu-like symptoms, they will be required to stay home. Additionally, those exposed to COVID-19 will be required to quarantine at home until they are symptom free for at least 72 hours and satisfy other Centers for Disease Control and Prevention requirements prior to returning to work.
Rulli said that all shoppers would be encouraged to wear masks or other facial coverings while shopping and that Simon would supply masks and packets of sanitizing wipes to shoppers on request.
Operating hours at the Simon properties would be limited to 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and noon to 6 p.m. on Sundays.
Simon also announced that the Clinton Crossing Premium Outlets and the Crystal Mall in Connecticut would reopen on May 21. Connecticut’s Governor Ned Lamont has said some businesses likely would be allowed to begin reopening on May 20.