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Portions of indoor shopping malls in New Jersey were given the green light to reopen to customers on Monday with strict COVID-19 guidelines in place in an effort to revive the stifled economy.
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While shoppers will be allowed to go to some stores for the first time in months, some sections of shopping malls such as gyms, movie theaters, amusement parks, water parks and arcades will remain closed, Gov. Phil Murphy said earlier this month.
Although restrictions have loosened, not all malls within the state are will reopen for business including American Dream, a retail and entertainment complex in the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford, mall officials told FOX Business.
“Malls are an undeniable part of New Jersey culture, and we want these businesses to get back up and running in a safe, responsible manner,” said Murphy. “To keep our restart moving in the right direction, we ask New Jerseyans who wish to head out to the mall or any public setting to do so safely.”
FUTURE OF MALLS IN QUESTION AS CORONAVIRUS COULD CLOSE THOUSANDS OF STORES
Not only will shops be limited to 50 percent capacity, but in order to get in shoppers and employees must wear face coverings and adhere to social distancing guidelines.
"If a customer refuses to wear a cloth face covering for non-medical reasons and if such covering cannot be provided to the individual by the mall at the point of entry, then the mall must decline entry to the individual," the governor's office warned.
However, anyone who is unable to do so for medical reasons or is under the age of two is exempt.
Restaurants within the interior of a retail shopping mall are restricted to takeout, delivery and outdoor dining services only.
What's more, food court seating and communal seating will be blocked off or closed. However, isolated benches will be available.
Retail kiosks may also reopen as long as they follow safety guidelines including keeping customers at least six feet apart.
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The reopening comes as the state announces 354 new positive COVID-19 cases with dozens of additional deaths. To date, the state has more than 171,180 positive cases of the virus and more than 13,100 residents have died, Murphy tweeted.
Meanwhile, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo hinted that he may slow the phase three reopening process for New York City, citing concerns with malls and indoor dining.
"We have a week before New York City enters the next phase and we have numbers every day … but malls and indoor dining are things that I’m concerned about and we may consider slowing them down for next week," Cuomo told NY1. "I would not want to roll back anything we’ve done. I want to continue to move forward but we may move forward with caution."
Just days before Cuomo's comments, the city's mayor, Bill de Blasio, expressed that phase three — allowing indoor dining and personal care businesses to reopen at a limited capacity, was on track to take effect on July 6.
Representatives for Gov. Cuomo have not immediately responded to FOX Business' request for comment.
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