PHOENIX - Friday, May 8 marked the first time in over a month where non-essential retailers, including several malls, are allowed to reopen.
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey announced that Arizona's stay-at-home order, which took effect on March 31, will expire on May 15. During a news conference on May 4, Gov. Ducey announced that non-essential businesses will be allowed to reopen for in-store operations on May 8.
Restaurants were allowed to reopen dining rooms to patrons on May 11.
According to an executive order issued by Gov. Ducey, a new order entitled "Stay Healthy, Return Smarter, Return Stronger" will take effect at midnight on May 16.
The new order asks vulnerable individuals, including those with underlying health conditions and those of the elderly population, to limit their time away from home.
The new order also asks businesses to continue to encourage telework. Businesses are asked to have workers return in phases, minimize non-essential travel, and strongly consider special accommodations for those who are members of the vulnerable population.
Schools will remain closed, Ducey said, and in-person visits to nursing homes will remain banned.
"This is not a green light to speed. This is a green light to proceed, and we're going to proceed with caution," he said.
Some stores at shopping centers reopen
At Phoenix Premium Outlet, a shopping center south of the Ahwatukee area of Phoenix, 11 out of the 80 shops at the center were back in business on May 8.
"Lots of people are kind of grabbing a Starbucks. I think a lot of people are curious, just walking around," said Ava Earnest, General Manager of Phoenix Premium Outlets. "It seems like they're enjoying being outside, [at] somewhere that's not their backyard."
Other shopping centers reopening include:
- Kierland Commons
- Biltmore Fashion Park
- San Tan Village
- Desert Ridge Marketplace
- Tempe Marketplace
Beginning May 16, the following shopping centers will be re-opened to the public:
- Arrowhead Towne Center
- Chandler Fashion Center
- Desert Sky Mall
- Paradise Valley Mall
- Scottsdale Fashion Square
- Superstition Springs Center
A different shopping experience
With the reopening also comes a vastly different shopping experience, with sanitation stations where people can wash their hands. There are also social distancing measures, and shoppers, as well as workers, wearing masks.
Free masks are being offered at the manager's office at Phoenix Premium outlets.
The focus seemed to e more of safety than shopping, with some stores are also offering curbside pickup, giving consumers a to-go shopping experience.
Some shopping centers remain closed
While some shopping centers, like Phoenix Premium Outlet, reopened, there are some malls, like Arizona Mills, that will remain closed.
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