Retail businesses can fully reopen on Monday, but this does not include malls

Retail businesses can fully reopen on Monday, June 15, putting an end to curbside pickup service. But Gov. Phil Murphy’s orders do not include malls.

News 12 Staff

Jun 11, 2020, 3:18 AM

Updated 1,411 days ago

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Retail businesses can fully reopen on Monday, June 15, putting an end to curbside pickup service. But Gov. Phil Murphy’s orders do not include malls.
And now the mayors of several New Jersey towns are asking the state to allow the malls located in their towns to reopen.
“I think it’s extremely shortsighted that the state of New Jersey is not looking at this as a revenue source, as well as the ability to provide jobs for citizens,” says Elizabeth Mayor Chris Bollwage.
The Jersey Gardens Mall, located in Elizabeth, provides $6 million in revenue to the city, plus hundreds of jobs. There is also the added state income tax that would be collected.
When pressed about the issue, the governor had little to say about why malls can’t reopen.
“It’s ‘We’re not there yet’ is the answer we get. I think ‘we’re not there yet’ is unacceptable,” Bollwage says. “Clearly there is no science behind the fact that you can’t social distance in a mall.”
Simone Properties, which owns Jersey Gardens and the Menlo Park Mall, has put together protocols that include protections for employees and customers. These protocols include temperature checks, social distancing and masks for employees. Workers will also be told to refrain from touching credit cards.
The malls are also promising to reduce overall capacity.
The frustrations come from watching other retail businesses open. Target, Walmart and other big box stores are all open with customers able to walk nearly shoulder-to-shoulder. And a new order says that groups as large at 100 can gather outside.
Bridgewater Mayor Matthew Moench is also weighing in about the Bridgewater Commons Mall. The mayor said in a statement, “We have been unable to collect revenue associated with our profit sharing with the Bridgewater Commons, which will result in higher property taxes and more financial burden on our residents.”
Bollwage meanwhile says that he has been speaking with the governor’s staff and hopes that Murphy will allow malls to reopen soon.


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