Mall walkers are back in Danbury Fair — but visibly absent are common seating areas dispersed throughout the two-level mall. There is seating in the food court, though it is arranged for social distancing. Not all food court vendors are open for business, and sit-down restaurant Cheesecake Factory has reopened.
Plenty of shoppers, however, are back as was evident this past Sunday. As of earlier this week, there are 120 shops and restaurants currently open, said Melissa Eigen, the mall's senior marketing manager.
"We have many new protocols in place related to cleaning, sanitizing, queuing, path of travel, security, deliveries, furniture placement and more for today’s needs," Eigen said. "We are happy to help get hundreds of people back to work. We know people are ready to get back to the places and activities they’ve been missing, and we are excited to be a big part of this."
At Norwalk's new mall, The SoNo Collection, which was still under construction when COVID-19 shuttered the region, department stores and other shops have re-opened as well, and a new retailer has even moved in this summer. Artisan, a furniture and home goods store, has opened its first Northeast store in a modern, impressive storefront intended to embody a "contemporary downtown urban chic character through the use of weathered and natural material finishes juxtaposed against a few carefully crafted contemporary elements," said the designer Philip Michael Brown. Pinstripes, a dining establishment with outdoor dining space and bowling and bocce, has reopened at the mall, too.
Under the guidelines of local and state officials, newly implemented safety and health protocols are in place for visitors. In May the SoNo Collection partnered with the app Premium Parking to donate parking revenue to local food banks Person-to-Person and Open Doors. This app provided a touchless way to make a donation that supported the community. Parking costs $1 per hour, and all 2,903 parking spots at The SoNo Collection were a part of this initiative.
"While the COVID-19 pandemic has proven unpredictable, the property has prepared for the new normal with the safety and needs of their customers, tenants and employees remaining top of mind," said Clark.
All Connecticut malls reopening May 20 have to provide hand-sanitizing stations, touch-free interactions, frequent and intense cleanings and social-distancing directions.
"As the state-wide dining-restriction mandate remains in place, the dining outlets’ seating area will remain closed. Dining outlets that choose to reopen will be available for carryout only, Clark said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, during the COVID-19 crisis, malls must include social distancing in common areas, frequently disinfect surfaces throughout the day, require masks or face coverings worn by employees and patrons and employees must wear gloves. Changing stations and fountains remain closed, and furniture in the common area and food courts in malls have to have tables arranged to allow for social distancing.
Visit the Danbury Fair's website to see a list of retail and restaurants currently open.
Visit The SoNo Collection website to see which stores and restaurants are open.