Malls around Jacksonville reopen, but retailers are going at their own pace

Not every store at the St. Johns Town Center opened Monday

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The shoppers were ready, but retailers were going at their own pace as malls around Northeast Florida reopened.

“I’m seeing not a lot open like I thought it would be,” said shopper Judy McIntyre.

Simon Property Group -- which operates the St. Johns Town Center, The Avenues, St. Augustine Premium Outlets and a dozen other shopping centers in Florida -- are open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

But as shoppers walked around St. Johns Town Center on Monday, when businesses considered nonessential were allowed to open at 25% capacity under phase one of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ plan reopen Florida, they were met with a variety of signs.

Hollister said it’ll be open on Wednesday.

A sign outside Victoria’s Secret said the store was not open due to limited staff availability.

While Pottery Barn was open, the doors were locked, as the retailer was only accepting appointments.

Regardless, shoppers seemed happy to get out.

“For the stores that are open, I’m really glad they are because we had a nice time,” said MaryAlice Young.

The stores that were open were taking precautions, such as marking 6 feet apart on the floor at checkouts.

Employees at every store were wearing masks. Commonly touched areas, such as the playgrounds, were closed. Every 50 or so feet, there were signs reminding people to social distance.

“We are ready for it, so we’ll see we’re just going to walk around,” said McIntyre.

Reporter note: As I walked around the stores as a customer and not a reporter with a camera, it reminded me that everyone is dealing with the coronavirus pandemic in different ways.

While some are more comfortable with entering phase one, it’s important to respect those that are still a little scared.

So as people get back to normal, be kind to others, respect each other’s space and understand that we all are processing this in our own way.

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