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West Acres announces plans to reopen May 8

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New artwork covers the entrance windows at the West Acres Shopping Center in south Fargo. David Samson / The Forum

FARGO — West Acres Shopping Center has announced plans to open to the public Friday, May 8, with a number of changes to encourage social distancing.

The announcement came in a note to the community posted on the mall's website and Facebook pages Friday, May 1.

"After deep consideration, and with a thorough plan in place, our doors will reopen to the public on Friday, May 8th. We do not take the decision to reopen lightly, and our opening will be done with new protocols in place for the safety and well-being of our visitors and employees.," wrote Alissa Adams, the malls senior vice president of marketing and business development.

Adams said for now, "a shopping trip to West Acres will feel different. If it didn’t, we would not be doing our part to protect our community."

Some of the changes include:

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  • Limited mall hours, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. until further notice, with no earlier walking hours. Some stores may also be closed or have limited hours.
  • Visitors ages 16 and under must be accompanied by a legal guardian. The restriction is temporary through the first phase of reopening.
  • The closure of high-touch amenities. That includes Playland; coat and package checking and gift wrapping services; the Buffalo Court Piano; Center Court books; Fountain Court kaleidoscopes; photobooths; drinking fountains and candy machines.
  • No furniture in common areas.
  • Events are suspended for the time being.
  • Altered food court operations. Seating will be limited and spread out to allow for social distancing. Trays will not be used.
  • Social distancing guidelines and reminders.
  • More extensive cleaning, which may result in some areas being closed during the day, such as restrooms and mother's rooms.
  • A curb-side pickup system has been developed. Contact individual stores for their curbside procedures.

"These changes not only protect our visitors and employees, but also give our team the opportunity to place their focus on the extensive cleaning and sanitation standards we have put in place. Stores will also have their own precautions and operational changes including the ability to re-open as they see fit.," Adams said.
"If and when it feels right for you to visit, we ask that you also do your part to ensure a safe experience for all. Please protect yourself and others by wearing a mask, participating in physical distancing, making visits efficient, practicing hygiene standards, and of course, staying home if you are feeling unwell or may have known exposure to COVID-19," Adams wrote.

Adams referred customers to the mall's complete COVID-19 plan available online at https://westacres.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/WestAcres_COVIDPlan.pdf

"The process of reopening will be gradual. We look forward to the day that we can bring back the special amenities and events that encompass the full West Acres experience for our guests. While we know change is not always easy, we will all adjust to a new normal together," Adams wrote, thanking staff, stores and the community, "for supporting one another through this journey."

Helmut Schmidt is a reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead's business news team. Readers can reach him by email at hschmidt@forumcomm.com, or by calling (701) 241-5583.
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