With new coronavirus guidelines, NJ shopping malls reopen

CHERRY HILL, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — Shoppers are allowed back inside New Jersey malls as of Monday, so long as they adhere to new guidelines to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. 

Patrons at Cherry Hill Mall seemed to adjust to the changes quickly.

Isaiah Thomas — not the basketball player — didn’t realize the malls reopened. He drove by and saw all the cars, so he decided to stop in to get some new sneakers.

“I feel good. I’m pumped up, ready to shop,” he said. “It feels like things are getting back to normal.”

The crowd size was relatively normal, and many people shopped while wearing face masks. There is an abundance of hand sanitizer stations, blue circles on the floor to remind people to stand 6 feet apart, and signs telling people to keep a three-stair distance on escalators.

There’s even a welcome back video board in the center of the mall, telling people what’s being done to ensure their safety.

But for teens looking to get out on their own this summer, they’ll need an escort. Signs at the entrances say teens and kids — anyone 17 and younger — are required to be accompanied by a parent or guardian, who is at least 21 years old, in order to visit the mall.

The biggest difference amid the coronavirus: Lines just to get into some stores mimic those you’d see on Black Friday, just more spaced out. Each store has a capacity, so if they reach that limit, customers must wait.

“I had to wait in line,” Thomas said. “Kind of difficult. I have to get used to it, but I’m adjusting to it.”

“It could be annoying, but you’re staying safe, so you can’t be annoyed at that really,” said shopper Destiny.

Not every store inside the mall is open either. The food court doesn’t have any tables or chairs set up, and common seating areas are roped off. 

However, some food court restaurants are offering takeout — just as Gov. Phil Murphy announced indoor dining in the Garden State is now postponed “indefinitely.”