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Toledo area malls prepare for May 12 reopening under new safety standards

(WTVG)
Published: Apr. 30, 2020 at 8:32 PM EDT
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Right now, The Shops at Fallen Timbers looks like a modern-day ghost town. By May 12, leaders hope things will spring back to life

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"The stores can only go so long and be closed, and then they don't exist anymore," general manager Richard Harris said.

Harris has been with the outdoor mall since it opened in 2007. Since then, he said he's never experienced anything as crippling as the coronavirus.

"That's the worst part of this whole thing — all these people here that aren't working," Harris said.

As Ohio slowly reopens, Harris said the mall will be ready when it comes time to do business again.

"We'll do whatever it takes to make the customer feel comfortable and make them feel safe," Harris said.

When the mall reopens, workers will be required to have their temperature taken daily. They'll also have to wear masks and gloves and frequently clean all surfaces.

"Every door handle has to be wiped down all the time, we'll have to close part of the restrooms and things like that," Harris said.

Meanwhile, at Levis Commons a similar story is unfolding as leaders said there will be sanitizing stations all over the property, and cleaning staff will make extra rounds. Benches will even be removed in some spots to discourage people from gathering.

At Franklin Park Mall in Toledo, managers said they're following suit by cleaning all touch points, closing seating areas and using markings to maintain social distancing.

While malls do their part to keep people safe, leaders like Harris said they need customers to do theirs, too.

"If [customers] won't follow the rules — we'll be very kind about that — but we will ask them to leave," Harris said.

Necessary and required steps to protect everyone while getting Ohioans feeling good about spending again.

"The economy's in trouble, and we can help it, and we will," Harris said.

While all three major malls are set to reopen on May 12, it doesn't mean individual stores will. Leaders at each mall said stores have their own protocol, and it could take time for them to get going again based on their standards.