Avenues Mall back open, but many stores not yet ready for business

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – We’re only 48 hours into phase one of Gov. Ron Desantis’ plan to reopen Florida. Part one of this reopening allows non-essential retailers closed down for nearly two months to reopen -- with restrictions.

While the lights may be on at the Avenues Mall, it doesn’t mean that all businesses are ready to unlock their doors.

When I walked through the doors at lunchtime Tuesday, I almost had to check the signs to make sure the mall was actually open. What should be a bustling food court was basically empty.

There were signs reminding everyone to social distance and keep tables 6 feet apart.

I quickly realized having to distance myself from people was not going to be an issue since most of the 138 stores inside the mall are still closed. I counted only 33 stores open and ready for customers.

A few stores had lights on, but the doors were closed with a sign that they would reopen this weekend.

As I walked the mall, I found people but not many shopping bags. It’s definitely not the mall experience we’re used to, but that should change as more and more stores reopen for business and more customers return.

There were a couple items I was grateful I had with me: 1) Hand sanitizer since you’re going to end up touching things, 2) your own pen so if you do buy something, you won’t have to use one provided by the store to sign the receipt. Maybe even one of those with the foam tip made for touchscreens in case it’s an electronic checkout.

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