MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Mall of America, which is the largest shopping and entertainment complex in North America, will partially reopen on June 1 in compliance with Minnesota’s new safety protocols for slowly reopening the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic, mall management announced last Thursday.
Gov. Tim Walz’s decision last Wednesday to allow his stay-at-home order to expire and to allow retailers to start reopening on May 18th was “promising news” for the mall and all retailers, the operators of the mall in the Minneapolis suburb of Bloomington said in a statement. The mall, which has more than 520 stores and restaurants, temporarily closed on March 17, though some of its merchants recently began offering curbside service
Not all of its stores will be ready to reopen June 1, and all mall dining venues and attractions will remain closed pending further guidance from the state, though eateries can offer curbside and delivery service in the meantime. The complex will reopen with social distancing signage, specific doors for entering and exiting to redirect foot traffic, enhanced cleaning procedures, modified operating hours, capacity limits and reconfigured seating, among other safety measures.
“Reopening a building the size of Mall of America is no small task, but we are confident taking the necessary time to reopen will help us create the safest environment possible,” the mall said. “We look forward to welcoming back our team members, tenants and guests.”
Walz said last Wednesday that he will let his stay-at-home order lapse as scheduled on May 18th, though he’ll leave key restrictions in place. Retail stores and malls can reopen for in-store shopping if they have social distancing in place for workers and customers and are at no more than 50% occupant capacity. The governor also directed his cabinet to try to come up with ways to safely reopen bars, restaurants, barbershops and salons starting June 1.
Around 500 conservative protesters — many waving Trump signs — gathered outside Walz’s official residence last Thursday to protest the continued restrictions. The protesters were peaceful but very few practiced social distancing or wore masks. The gathering appeared to be larger than a similar protest there a month ago. It was one of several similar protests across the country in recent weeks, including one in Michigan last week.