Anchor stores open first at Park Meadows

Meanwhile, mall's inside corridors remain closed

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Park Meadows stores are opening on an individual basis as the mall awaits the go-ahead from the health department to open its corridors once again.

Stores with exterior entrances, like Dick's Sporting Goods, Dillard's, Macy's, Nordstrom and the Vistas area, are eligible to open first, according to Park Meadows officials. Dick's was the first to open May 1. Dillard's was scheduled to reopen May 5 and Macy's is scheduled to open May 11.

“A lot of businesses are taking this very seriously and a lot are preparing their own stores for gradual reopening," said Whitney Miller, director of the mall's business improvement district.

Masks to help protect against COVID-19 transmission are a requirement for Park Meadows shoppers, Miller said. Individual stores are responsible for enforcing social distancing, personal protective equipment and capacity requirements.

The mall in Lone Tree does not categorize as a retail business in the eyes of the Tri-County Health Department. The individual stores are considered retail and can open under certain conditions, such as keeping people 6 feet apart and allowing half as many customers as its capacity allows.

Park Meadows is considered an entertainment center, and therefore cannot allow customers inside the dining hall and public corridors.

Dick's Sporting Goods had few people trickling in and around the entrance on May 1. Some poked their heads in the door, wondering if they were even allowed in, despite the sign above the entrance that read “Now Open” in bold, red letters.

“It feels weird walking in a store for the first time. It's strange,” said Jerry Greenwald, who went shopping with his wife, Jane, on May 2.

The mall has stepped up its cleaning and disinfecting efforts, Miller said. Soft-cushioned seating has been temporarily removed. The dining hall closed its seating, though restaurants can still sell take-out.

As the larger retail stores ease into reopening their floors, interior outlets of the mall are preparing to provide curbside pick-up. A makeshift curbside pick-up lane is set up by the dining hall. Dick's has been providing curbside pick-up for several weeks. Customers wait outside the store, place a request on the phone or online and wait for an employee inside the store to get the items and bring them to the car. That option is still available for customers.

The COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing public health orders have caused some permanent changes to the mall, Miller said. Staff are far more conscious of disinfecting high-touch areas. The mall may create a more permanent system for curbside pick-up, particularly for businesses that already offer those services, like Macy's and Dick's, and restaurants at the mall.

There is no date for when the mall corridors will open, Miller said.

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