Though some of their tenants may not be prepared to open their doors just yet, Towne Square Mall itself is officially reopening today in line with retail businesses across the state.
“We’re really happy to be able to open back up for our tenants,” said Ed Ray, chief operating officer of Gulfstream Commercial Services. “We expect to have most of our tenants opening up in some capacity and kind of experiment with the new norm and start getting comfortable with the new processes.”
Ray said many tenants said it would be a “game-time” decision on whether to reopen Wednesday. He recommends calling ahead and asking if the store is open and what their hours are. The directory can be found here.
J.C. Penney has announced more than 240 stores would be closing nationwide, but Ray said he has not heard anything about the location in the mall.
So far only one business in the mall has announced a permanent closure — Top Nails.
Ray said there hasn’t been much guidance regarding the mall specifically, but they’re implementing the same strategies recommended for other businesses that can reopen in accordance with the guidelines set by Gov. Andy Beshear.
The only entrance and exit point will be the main doors facing Frederica Street. There will also be sanitizing stations throughout the mall and at the entryway, and staff will wear masks and regularly clean high-contact points throughout the day. Signage will be posted throughout the mall to remind consumers of safety guidelines.
The businesses in the mall will also have their own measures in place, including allowing only 33% occupancy or less.
“The individual tenants will have their protocols in place,” Ray said. “It’s really going to be up to each tenant to monitor the occupancy of their own space.”
Ray said there will also be no seating in the food court, and the food vendors might decide to not reopen just yet anyway — though he expects a gradual return.
Ray added that it’s a big deal for stores in the mall to be able to reopen for multiple reasons.
“One is that the stores themselves and the employees need to find a sense of normalcy again,” Ray said. “Secondly is the citizens of Owensboro that are not at heightened risk or in a position to spread a virus have a place to go that has plenty of space for distancing, and yet they can still find a lot of the goods and services that they’ve been accustomed to in the past.”
The Owensboro Health coronavirus hotline is available 24/7 by calling 877-888-6647. Call the hotline before seeking in-person care. More information from OH can be found here.
For the latest information and data on COVID-19 in Kentucky visit kycovid19.ky.gov or dial the Kentucky state hotline at 800-722-5725.
For the latest health guidelines and resources from the CDC, visit their website here.