The Las Vegas Premium Outlets North opened to shoppers Tuesday with new protocols to encourage social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The mall had been shut down since Gov. Steve Sisolak ordered all nonessential businesses to close in March, but the outlets welcomed customers back Tuesday after Sisolak allowed some businesses to reopen at 50 percent capacity.
“It’s great to see people walking around again,” area mall manager Rajeev Chhabra said. “And hopefully over time, with more of our retailers opening up, we’ll see some more walking around soon.”
An hour before the opening, retail employees bustled inside a handful of stores while cleaning staff did one last sweep of the outdoor mall, located at 875 S. Grand Central Parkway.
A plethora of standing signs were posted throughout, some listing steps management is taking to protect shoppers and others suggesting guidelines for shoppers to protect themselves.
The mall placed tape arrows and distance markers on walkways to direct foot traffic and to encourage social distancing near kiosks. Half of the tables at the food court were removed, and the rest were spaced farther apart.
The mall also stepped up its sanitation practices and encouraged retailers to follow suit, with staff regularly disinfecting common areas, such as restrooms and seating, and high-touch surfaces such as door handles, Chhabra said.
“And we’re also taking control of those high-touch surfaces by removing access to them,” he said.
The mall stopped renting out strollers and closed several bathrooms, though hand sanitizer stations are available in common areas.
Outlets employees are required to stay home if they a have a fever or symptoms such as a cough, sore throat or runny nose. Those who work must wear masks and have their temperatures tested daily, and Chhabra said he hoped shoppers would do the same.
“I think it’s an unprecedented time for everyone,” he said. “But we’re adapting and evolving to the time we’re in.”
Face masks and temperature testing are also available for shoppers at the mall office or by calling mall security after the office closes at 5 p.m.
While management encourages customers to follow the “healthy shopper guidelines” posted throughout the outlets, Chhabra said they are not required and the mall cannot enforce them.
“We can put up all the signs and arrows that we want,” he said, “but it’s up to the shoppers to make sure they’re following those guidelines and staying safe.”
The Las Vegas Premium Outlets South, 7400 Las Vegas Boulevard South, is still closed. The north outlet mall reduced its hours to 11 a.m.-7 p.m.