Malls and shopping centers are included in the first phase of Gov. Ned Lamont’s ‘Reopen Connecticut’ plan, and Westfarms, located on the West Hartford and Farmington town line, announced Wednesday that it will plan to reopen May 20.
By Ronni Newton
As long as metrics set by the state for a May 20 reopening of certain sectors of the economy continue to be met, Westfarms will reopen the shopping center for the community at 11 a.m. on that date.
The announcement was made Wednesday morning.
In planning for the reopening, Westfarms spokesperson Amanda Sirica said Wednesday, “We are putting our shoppers and employee safety above all else with mall-wide safety guidelines that adhere to the government and CDC mandates.”
Westfarms, like other shopping centers and retail businesses throughout the state, has been closed since the middle of March by executive order of Gov. Ned Lamont, although some of the restaurants have continued to provide takeout or delivery of food and beverages and some of the exterior stores have had curbside pick-up.
Common areas at Westfarms will initially operate on a reduced schedule, Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m.
“Mall walkers,” however, will have earlier access and will be able to utilize Westfarms beginning daily at 10 a.m., to “do what they love an hour before the center opens to the public,” Sirica said.
Following the reopening, interior retailers will also be able to offer curbside pick-up, Sirica said, which will be a great amenity for customers. Signage will provide directions for where to go for those pick-ups at one of the center’s four main entrances.
“Individual retailers will open on a case-by-case basis,” Sirica said, and Westfarms encourages customers to contact them before coming out to the center to find out if they are open and what the individual hours are.
The mall-wide safety guidelines will include placement of signage and decals on the floors to remind people to maintain physical distancing.
In an email, Westfarms outlined some of the procedures they will be instituting to safeguard customer health:
- Cleaning and disinfecting the center throughout the day, and after-hours, with a focus on high-touch, high-traffic surfaces
- Using a stronger disinfectant when available
- Encouraging the use of masks where it is not already mandated by local, state, or federal laws
- Using signage and decals to help customers with social distancing
- Offering hand sanitizer at designated stations
- Turning off drinkingfountains
- Removing furniture and/or resetting seating areas in our common areas to allow for greater social distancing
Sirica noted that seating areas will look somewhat different, with the rearrangement of furniture to provide for physical distancing. All restrooms have touch-less amenities including soap, sinks, hand dryers, Sirica said.
“We’re all in this together and we hope to have a successful reopening and stay safe and healthy,” Sirica said. “We look forward to safely reopening, the return of many of our employees, and serving our community.”
There will not likely need to be a limit to the number of people who can enter Westfarms itself, although individual retailers will have their own procedures.
“I hope everyone does their part,” Sirica said.
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