GAFFNEY, S.C. (WSPA) – The Gaffney Outlet Marketplace re-opened on Friday and many people made their way out to the “Yellow Mall” to shop.
7 News spoke with those shoppers and learned what measures were in place to keep them safe.
10-year-old shopper Pip Bradley told us she’s been stuck at home for too long.
“Sad emoji. It’s really, really hard,” she said. “You’re trapped inside the house and you do your schoolwork–because I’m home-schooled–and watch TV.”
Bradley told 7 News she’s missed shopping more than anything.
“It’s my thing, it’s my passion, and I love it.” she said. “I like seeing the cute stuff, because it’s so cute! I don’t even know how they do it.”
So, when Bradley heard her favorite mall was opening back up, she was ecstatic.
“I thought, ‘Yes!’ I’m saved,” Bradley said.
And Bradley wasn’t the only person excited. Folks came from near and far for some retail therapy.
“I like the Pottery Barn and some of the shoe outlets,” shopper Tony Yocum said.
Some people showed up wearing masks, and many of them left with bags in their hands.
“I love the Yellow Mall,” shopper Cassidy Holman added. “I am absolutely a shopaholic.”
Cassidy Holman said she’s thrilled most that some folks will now get to go back to work.
“I support this 100% because I’m ready to get this economy back up and booming,” she said.
Not all of the stores at the mall were open on Friday; but, according to the company that owns the mall–Simon–each store that was open had been thoroughly sanitized and disinfected, had an occupancy limit, and employees had been screened and offered personal protective equipment.
“They’re sanitizing and putting the clothes where they need to go,” Bradley said. “I saw a lot of people wearing masks.”
The company told 7 News there are hand sanitizing stations as well as temperature testing made available for shoppers.
They also have signs posted, encouraging social distancing.
Shoppers told us they’re thankful for the measures that are in place.
“I really want things to get back to normal, and I feel like, as long as we practice good hygiene, I think that things are going to be okay,” Holman said.
Simon sent us the following statement:
“The health, safety and well-being of those we serve will always be our highest priority, and we have developed a thorough and detailed set of protocols highlighting the exceptional measures we’ve implemented to safeguard shoppers, retailers and employees as we reopen,” said John Rulli, President of Simon. “We also recognize that individuals and families in our communities are suffering significant hardship as a result of both COVID-19 and the economic shutdown, and we believe that reopening our properties will not only help people get back to work during these challenging times, but also enable us to use our properties to further support charitable initiatives.”
The property management teams rigorously analyzed all aspects of the shopping experience and designed a complete set of safety protocols encompassing the following areas:
Enhanced sanitization and disinfecting using the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) approved products with an emphasis on high-traffic locations such as dining areas, restrooms, escalators, stairs, directories, trash bins and door knobs.
Shopper safeguards that include making available protective masks, sanitizing wipes and temperature testing at entrances or property offices, as well as the encouragement of pre-visit health screenings to ensure shoppers stay home if they have exhibited COVID-19 or flu-like symptoms within 72 hours.
Hand sanitizing stations will be deployed throughout the properties.
Signage promoting CDC guidelines for maintaining personal hygiene will be prominently displayed throughout the properties.
Pre-emptive employee health screening to ensure that employees do not arrive at work within 72 hours of exhibiting COVID-19 or flu-like symptoms.
Employee safety protections including implementing the CDC’s COVID-19 frequent hand-washing protocols, and offering personal protective equipment in addition to other CDC recommended practices.
Promotion and enforcement of social distancing practices, including occupancy limitations,furniture and restroom spacing, closure of play areas and strollers, as well as coordinated traffic flow with traffic signage and distance markers.
Simon properties closed on March 19 in order to address the spread of COVID-19. Reopening provides a much-needed economic boost to the local communities impacted by COVID-19. The properties are important economic engines for their local communities, providing more than 3,300jobs and contributing $23.3 million of sales tax and $2.8 million in property tax revenue to the State. These tax receipts fund essential services in communities including education, infrastructure as well as health and safety services.
“Our properties are an integral part of our communities; not only in terms of shopping, dining and entertainment, but also job creation, small business growth and community support. We look forward to once again serving the needs of our communities, and do so in a safe and responsible manner,” said Rulli.