CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Concord Mills, SouthPark Mall and Charlotte Premium Outlets are all temporarily closing due to coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Simon Property Group, the company that owns all three malls, announced that it will close all of its retail properties, including Malls, Premium Outlets and Mills in the United States. This measure will take effect from 7 p.m. local time Wednesday and will end on March 29.
The company says the decision was made after extensive discussions with federal, state and local officials and in recognition of the need to address the spread of COVID-19.
“The health and safety of our shoppers, retailers and employees is of paramount importance and we are taking this step to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our communities,” said David Simon, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of Simon.
The closings put even more people in our area, out of work.
Customers say they definitely understand why this is happening, but at the same time, the mall has been an escape. Cabin fever is getting the best of some families and before Wednesday night, malls have been one of the few places to hang out with regular hours.
Despite pleas from the government to stay home, some people kept showing up at malls to shop, leaving mall executives with Simon Properties to make the call to close until March 29th.
“I actually think this is the right thing to do based on what we’ve seen overseas and how things seem to be flowing. We need to lower the arc, or crush the arc or whatever it’s called,”
Eric Decker works at Ballard Designs, a furniture store inside South Park Mall. Even though his job is put on pause, his checks won’t be.
“My company, thank God is going to be taking care of the staff for at least the two weeks, but if it extends longer than that, then we’re not sure what’s going to happen,” said Decker.
Jeff Davis is one person trying to shake cabin fever after spending days homeschooling his kids and logging into work from home. He went to Dick’s Sporting Goods looking for fishing gear.
“You’re out in the woods fishing, you don’t really have to think about things like this. It’s kind of good to get our minds off it for a little bit,” said Davis.
He didn’t have any luck finding what he needed which he says isn’t a big deal compared to what mall workers are facing right now.
“I just feel concerned for all the people that work here and the trickle-down impact of the economy,” said Davis.
It’s something that’s on Decker’s mind too, with so much business that’s become collateral damage in the spread of the virus.
“That’s going to be the tough thing trying to rebound from that. We’ve seen it. I lived in New York when 9-11 happened and trying to get the rebound from that was bad, but this is nationwide. I think it’s going to be worse,” added Decker.
Some mall workers say they’re doing what they can to keep sales up by encouraging people to shop online.
Simon is a real estate investment trust engaged in the ownership of premier shopping, dining, entertainment and mixed-use destinations and an S&P 100 company (Simon Property Group, NYSE: SPG).