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Malls closed by coronavirus set to reopen in Tampa Bay

Tampa and St. Petersburg malls will be open this week with some changes
Aerial view of an empty parking lot of the Westfield Brandon mall due to COVID-19 closures pictured on Thursday, April 9, 2020 in Brandon.
Aerial view of an empty parking lot of the Westfield Brandon mall due to COVID-19 closures pictured on Thursday, April 9, 2020 in Brandon. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]
Published May 3, 2020|Updated May 3, 2020

Many of Tampa Bay’s indoor malls will welcome back shoppers this week as Florida loosens COVID-19 restrictions on nonessential business.

Due to new safety measures, malls won’t look the same as before. Changes will include removed or rearranged seating in food courts and common areas and the closure of “high-interaction” spots such as children’s play areas and some entrances.

Employees will be required in some cases to wear masks, and new signs placed throughout the malls will encourage customers to social distance. Security will also enforce these measures.

Individual retailers within the malls may also have their own plans and procedures. Gov. Ron DeSantis’ orders for reopening the state require retailers to operate at 25 percent capacity starting Monday.

Simon Property Group said it would tape off every other sink and urinal in its restrooms to keep people apart. Simon will reopen 15 malls across the state on Monday, including St. Petersburg’s Tyrone Square and Tampa Premium Outlets in Lutz.

Tampa’s International Plaza will reopen Wednesday at 11 a.m. In addition to enhanced cleaning efforts throughout the day, the mall is removing all trays from its food court to reduce the amount of high-touch surfaces.

Westfield Malls, which include Westfield Brandon, Westfield Countryside in Clearwater and Westfield Citrus Park in Tampa, won’t reopen until May 15. These malls will have modified weekday hours of 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Washington Prime Group’s WestShore Plaza has not announced a reopening date yet.

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