CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Simon Properties, the largest mall owner in the United States, is planning to reopen its Charlotte-area malls, including Concord Mills and SouthPark, on Friday, May 8 as North Carolina prepares to enter Phase 1 of its COVID-19 reopening plan.
The multi-phase plan was announced by Governor Roy Cooper and is designed to gradually get non-essential businesses back open while maintaining social distancing to prevent a spike in coronavirus cases.
On its website, Simon currently has Concord Mills, SouthPark and the Charlotte Premium Outlets scheduled to reopen on May 8. This will come one week after their properties in South Carolina reopened Friday, May 1. Business hours will be limited to 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Sunday's hours will be noon until 6 p.m. This allows the malls to thoroughly sanitize and disinfect common areas.
Mecklenburg County Health Director Gibbie Harris said the county's new coronavirus cases have stabilized and said unless there's a drastic increase in cases, leaders are optimistic Mecklenburg County can begin Phase 1 of reopening by May 8. That would allow non-essential businesses like clothing stores, toy stores and bookstores to reopen to the public.
The Department of Health and Human Services reported the state's largest single-day increase for coronavirus Thursday. It's important to note that the state has doubled its testing and officials said they expected a jump in overall positives. The percentage of tests that came back positive was 9%, which is down from 17% two weeks ago, so things are moving in the right direction.
Simon says it has implemented protocol for employees to follow, including at-home screening and temperature checks. If they have a fever exceeding 100.4 degrees or show any flu-like symptoms, they will be required to stay home. They must be symptom-free for at least 72 hours satisfy all CDC guidelines for self-isolation before returning to work.
Malls will use social distancing tools and limit the number of shoppers to help protect employees and customers from coronavirus. Malls will be limited to one shopper for every 50 square feet of space. You can learn more about Simon's reopening plans here.
Eastridge Mall in Gastonia also reopened Friday.