Phoenix malls, shopping centers starting to reopen amid COVID-19

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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Symptoms for coronavirus COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. These, of course, are similar to the common cold and flu. 

Expect a common cold to start out with a sore or scratchy throat, cough, runny and/or stuffy nose. Flu symptoms are more intense and usually come on suddenly, and can include a high fever. 

Symptoms of COVID-19 may appear more slowly. They usually include fever, a dry cough and noticeable shortness of breath, according to the World Health Organization. A minority of cases develop pneumonia, and the disease is especially worrisome for the elderly and those with other medical problems such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes or heart conditions.

RELATED: Is it the flu, a cold or COVID-19? Different viruses present similar symptoms

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To protect yourself, wash your hands well and often, keep them away from your face, and avoid crowds and standing close to people.

And if you do find yourself showing any of these flu or coronavirus symptoms - don't go straight to your doctor's office. That just risks making more people sick, officials urge. Call ahead, and ask if you need to be seen and where.

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Stay home when you are sick.

Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

Additional resources

Coronavirus (COVID-19) - How it spreads, symptoms, prevention, treatment, FAQ (In Spanish/En Español)

Arizona COVID-19 Response - Public resources, FAQ, webinars (In Spanish/En Español)

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