MERRILLVILLE, Ind, (CBS) — Malls are opening back up in northwest Indiana, but shoppers are seeing some big changes upon their return.
1. Not all stores are reopening yet
The Southlake Mall in Merrillville reopened Monday, drawing hundreds of customers, but about 60% of its businesses remained closed.
2. Stores are limiting customers
Several of the stores that did decide to open are taking steps to prevent customers from crowding. Forever 21, for example, has a sign in the window saying only 10 customers are allowed in at once. Champs is allowing 20 customers at a time.
Southlake Mall (NW Indiana) is back open today, with plenty of changes. Many stores still closed. Several that opened are only allowing 10-20 people at once, so in some cases customers are waiting outside. Mall management says masks are encouraged but not required. @cbschicago pic.twitter.com/abANUSI0Zu
— Tim McNicholas (@TimMcNicholas) May 18, 2020
But both stores, along with DTLR and Footlocker, had people lined up outside the door Monday waiting for their turn to shop. The mall has posted signs encouraging people to stay six feet apart but not everyone in the lines followed that advice Monday.
3. Facemasks encouraged, but not required
The mall also encourages–but does not require–face masks for shoppers. About half the shoppers wore a face covering Monday. Most employees at the businesses wore masks but not all of them. All of Southlake’s janitors and security workers had masks on.
4. Sanitizer, wipes available
Hand sanitizer is available near the mall’s elevators. Customers can grab disinfecting wipes in the food court, but most of the food court is closed.
5. Most restaurants not open yet
On Monday afternoon, Maki of Japan was the only restaurant open in the food court. Away from the food court, Wetzel’s Pretzels was open.
As for the mall’s main anchors, JC Penney and Dick’s Sporting Good were closed but Macy’s had reopened.
Multiple nail salons and a barbershop also opened up in the mall and each had customers inside on Monday.
The mall also has limited hours: from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 12 to 6 p.m. on Sundays.