Five shopping malls in the Austin area will reopen this weekend in response to Governor Greg Abbott’s orders to open restaurants, movie theaters and malls.
In an internal memo dated April 28, Simon Property Group, the company that owns Barton Creek Square, The Domain, Lakeline Mall, Round Rock Premium Outlets, and on-site San Marcos Premium Outlets, outlined its opening schedule for Friday, May 1st. Simon closed his properties plan on March 18 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The memo was first received from CNBC and the New York Times.
Simon, who owns hundreds of properties across the United States, including high profile locations like the Copley in Boston and the Galleria in Houston, explains health and safety regulations for “employees, contractors, sellers and buyers.” While the actual properties are open from Friday, the tenants have to decide whether individual shops will open their doors.
For Simon employees returning to work, the memo mandates that they take their temperature before they get to work. If their internal temperature exceeds 100.4 degrees or if the person has flu-like symptoms, they are expected to be quarantined at home for at least 72 hours. Workers are also required to wear face masks and wash their hands frequently on the property.
The company also suggests that tenants (aka retailers, restaurants, department stores, etc.) have similar guidelines for their employees, and encourages buyers to also take their temperatures before they leave. Once inside, shoppers should maintain the recommended six feet of social distance at all times and wear a face mask.
In addition to personal measures, the real estate group also issues the following security protocols:
Limit the number of people in a room (in Austin and throughout Texas, an enclosed public space cannot exceed 25 percent occupancy)
Reconfiguration of furniture, including in food courts, to keep distance
Closing play areas, stroller areas, valet parking and water fountains
Close all other toilet stalls
Add temporary signage
Simon says it will sanitize busy and public areas as well, and encourages individual stores to do the same. Face masks and hygiene wipes are provided on request.
In total, Simon will reopen 49 properties over the weekend, 21 of them in Texas.