Shelter-in-place order ends, but most Atlanta malls don’t reopen

Exterior of Lenox Square on Thursday, April 30, 2020. Lenox Square and at least eight other malls and shopping centers in the Atlanta region plan to reopen on Friday — the latest sign of businesses reviving after the coronavirus shutdown. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Georgia’s shelter-in-place order may be lifted. But most Atlanta-area malls won’t be open for business just yet.

After previously announcing its malls would open Friday, Simon Malls announced those openings are delayed until Monday. Only the Calhoun Outlet Marketplace and North Georgia Premium Outlets will be open Friday.

RELATED: Kemp lifts statewide shelter-in-place order

ALSO: Scenes from Georgia's cautious reopening

The other Simon malls in Georgia include Lenox Square, Phipps Plaza, The Mall of Georgia, Sugarloaf Mills and Town Center at Cobb.

"The health, safety and well-being of those we serve will always be our highest priority, and we have developed a thorough and detailed set of protocols highlighting the exceptional measures we’ve implemented to safeguard shoppers, retailers and employees as we reopen,” John Rulli, president of Simon, said in an emailed statement.

Other metro Atlanta malls are also delaying openings. Perimeter, North Point and Cumberland malls will open Tuesday, the shopping centers announced. Northlake Mall in Tucker plans to reopen Monday. The Mall at Stonecrest wasn’t open

But for those that still want to shop, there are plenty of options.

Douglasville’s Arbor Place Mall plans to open at 11 a.m. Southlake Mall in Morrow will also open at 11 a.m., according to the mall’s website. The Forum on Peachtree Parkway will open at 10 a.m.

The Outlet Shoppes of Atlanta, located in Woodstock, will open for shoppers. The Avenues at West Cobb, East Cobb and Peachtree City will also be open.

Safety measures in place

The three Atlanta-area malls operated by Brookfield Properties – Cumberland, Perimeter and North Point – will open Tuesday with enhanced safety precautions. They have installed hand-sanitizing stations throughout the properties, required retailers to implement touch-free interactions and increased the intensity and frequency of cleaning and disinfecting public areas. The malls’ food courts will remain closed, though some restaurants will continue to offer carry-out.

“While closely monitoring the new direction from Gov. Kemp, we are diligently working on plans to safely reopen our shopping centers,” Margaret Craig, a senior property management associate at Perimeter Mall, said in an emailed statement. “The well-being of our guests, tenants and employees is our highest priority.”

— Andy Peters

The scene in Cobb County

Abbie Shipp of Paulding County ventured out to Marietta Square on Friday to celebrate a friend's birthday — while maintaining social distancing rules, of course. Shipp was adorned in a party hat and balloons as she spoke to the AJC. Shipp said she has been self isolating at home, but did venture to the Square to support small businesses like Tiny Bubbles.

"I love it," she said. "I'm obviously very excited."

She also said she is surprised to see more people walking around Glover Park.

"It's great that people are out today," she said.

While the Avenues at East Cobb remained quiet, Cynthia Meyer said she is using the time to soak up the nice weather.

"It's a beautiful day and (I love) the sunshine," she said.

Meyer said she, her daughter and her son also came out to grab lunch at Kale Me Crazy, which is open for take-out service. Meyer said she was surprised to see that most of the shops remained closed.

"I understand that they want to be cautious," she said, adding she appreciates the freedom they have to choose to open or close.

Most businesses at the Avenues have signs posted on their doors stating they are closed temporarily.

— Kristal Dixon

Mitch Snow was among the shoppers Friday at Southlake Mall. (Photo: Leon Stafford)

Southlake open, but not all stores

Jacob Butler and Tyler Harris came out to Southlake Mall when it opened Friday in search of shoes, but left disappointed.

“There ain’t nothing in there open,” Harris said as the pair departed.

Butler said they were inside for about 30 minutes, most of which was spent getting fries at the food court.

Mitch Snow of Jonesboro stopped by Southlake after a visit to the bank. He was in search of a necklace for his wife, who is recovering from brain cancer surgery in September.

“I stopped by because Mother’s Day is coming and I wanted to get her something nice,” he said.

Snow, who wore a face mask, said he was comfortable shopping because most people had the faces covered with masks and were adhering to social distancing.

It was also easy because he knew what he wanted and was quick to get in and out, no browsing on this trip.

“I wanted to get the necklace from Kay Jewelers but they weren’t open so I got it from Bella Jewelry,” he said. “I think my wife will be very happy,”

— Leon Stafford

Altar’d State opened from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. allowing a total of 10 people in the spacious boutique at a time. The store reached its maximum capacity at one point, Friday, when five staff and five customers were inside.  (Photo: Adrianne Murchison)

The scene in North Fulton

Most shops at Avalon in Alpharetta remained closed on Friday. The normally packed Apple store was vacant. West Elm and others still had posted signs regarding their temporary closure due to coronavirus.

Passersby found Anthropologie, Altar’d State, Free People and Lululemon open with masked sales people ready for customers.

Fab’rik opened with limited hours until further notice. The store is open to customers from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and then the shop accepts customers by appointment only from 3 to 6 p.m., a sales person said.

A small table was setup at the Anthropologie entrance with paper towels, Lysol disinfectant spray and numerous masks. Inside, items had been moved and spaced a part to help customers maintain social distancing.

Altar’d State opened from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. allowing a total of 10 people in the spacious boutique at a time. The store reached its maximum capacity at one point, Friday, when five staff and five customers were inside.

Sales person Kirstyn Humbert said personnel is rigorous in keeping the store safe for customers. Only one customer at a time is allowed into the fitting room area, she said.

“We Lysol everything that customers touch [when paying for items],” said Humbert. “Same thing in the fitting room. We completely disinfect the room before we allow another person inside. We’re trying to make sure everybody feels safe because we want people to come in.”

As the weekend gets under way, Humbert expects a greater flow of customers.

“We’re a little nervous about the 10 people capacity and having to turn people away,” she said.

Other shopping centers, such as North Point Mall in Alpharetta and Perimeter Mall in Dunwoody are scheduled to reopen on Tuesday from 11 a.m.-7 p.m.

— Adrianne Murchison

The scene in Midtown

In Midtown Atlanta, Ikea remained closed and virtually all restaurants on Peachtree Street were still only offering curbside take out service.

"Please don't come inside," read a sign on the window at Cafe Intermezzo at the corner of 11th Street and Peachtree. It also noted that the establishment was selling half price beer.

The sidewalks on 10th St on the southern edge of Piedmont Park were crowded, and and about half the walkers enjoying the warm afternoon kept a healthy distance apart. Others made little to no effort to separate themselves.

The Beltline provided a similar scene.

A flashing sign at the Beltline's Monroe Drive entrance warned: "STAY ON GAURD. COVID-19 IS STILL TAKING LIVES."

— Stephen Deere

Quiet lunch hour in Decatur

On the downtown square in Decatur — where Mayor Patti Garrett has urged residents to continue staying home "except for essentials" — the Friday lunch hour was quiet.

A smattering of folks walking for exercise or picking up take-out made their way through the square but few lingered.

Most shops remained closed. And even the local Waffle House still bore a "temporarily closed" sign on its front door.

— Tyler Estep

— Please return to ajc.com for updates.

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