The biggest mall in the United States is reopening in several weeks.
Retail stores in the Mall of America will welcome customers back inside starting June 1.
Malls are allowed to reopen on May 18, according to an executive order issued by Democratic Gov. Tim Walz on Wednesday.
The reason for the gap between the ability to reopen and the actual reopening is the need to prepare for altered rules in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This will allow us the time to create the safest environment possible for our guests and allow our tenants the time needed to prepare for reopening,” the mall said in a statement.
Retailers will spend the coming weeks rehiring, retraining, and reorganizing their stores.
Many retail stores at the mall are offering curbside pickup until then, including Nordstrom, PacSun, and the LEGO Store.
Restaurants and attractions will remain closed until state officials give the green light to reopen them, but mall officials believe approval will come soon, allowing them to reopen on June 1 as well.
“We are awaiting final directive from the state,” the mall said.
Masks or facial coverings are not required, but people are strongly encouraged to wear them. Individual stores might require customers to wear masks.
Changes to the way the mall operates include the addition of signs outlining new policies, controlled entrances, sneeze guards, and requirements to social distance.
Workers will monitor incoming traffic. They may limit parking. Security workers will be “measuring the amount of cell phone usage on property.”
Walz’s order requires all businesses deemed non-essential, such as retailers inside malls, create a safety plan that includes requirements that workers and customers must maintain physical distancing of 6 feet and that store occupancy must not exceed 50 percent of the normal occupant capacity.
In malls, all plans must include a plan to keep occupancy at 50 percent or less. Officials must also outline “an enhanced sanitizing, cleaning, and disinfecting regimen” and signs encouraging people not to congregate.
Walz told reporters: “We don’t want people hanging out in the food court and doing things, but those are retail places.”
Located just outside Minneapolis, the Mall of America typically has more than 40 million visitors a year.