Malls, stores in South Florida begin reopening with new restrictions

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FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Malls and stores alike in South Florida have started to reopen with social distancing restrictions to protect customers.

Michelle DiMarco, the owner of Lilac and Lilies Boutique, was excited that she could reopen her doors on Monday. Her business turned heavily to online sales when her shop was forced to close.

“Being shut down was probably one of the most stressful times in my life,” DiMarco said. “I felt very responsible for not only keeping the business open but also keeping my employees employed. It really made me think outside of the box and put everything I had in me to — ‘How can I drum up sales throughout the time period?'”

Dadeland Mall is one of the Simon Mall properties that have reopened to the public.

In the mall, customers will see social distancing signs, there will be a limit on how many people are allowed on elevators and customers will notice plenty of sanitizer throughout the mall.

Other malls that have reopened on Monday include Coral Square, The Falls, Florida Keys Outlet Marketplace, Miami International Mall and Sawgrass Mills.

The Village of GulfStream Park in Broward County will slowly open their shops and restaurants. The outdoor mall plans to have 80% to 90% of their tenants up and running for business, and they want to have all of their businesses open by next week.

Officials said the safety of their customers is the outdoor venue’s bottom line.

“We’re doing consistent cleaning and sanitizing of all our enclosed areas, our elevators,” Albert Mulet, GulfStream Park’s assistant general manager, said. “We’ve closed off the children’s play area for the safety of our customers, so we’re just being proactive as we have been over the last couple of weeks, getting the center ready for reopening.”

Christian Rodriguez, the general manager at Yard House, said they are getting the restaurant ready, and they are getting their employees back up to speed.

“We have a team of 40 inside,” Rodriguez said. “Forty team members are ecstatic to be back, as well, and they’re cleaning the restaurant, getting it 100% ready for our customers tomorrow.”

However, not all malls throughout South Florida opened on Monday.

Dolphin Mall will reopen on Wednesday. Aventura Mall will open their doors on Thursday, and Westfield Broward will open on Friday.

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