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Douglas County wants to gradually reopen Park Meadows

The county has filed an application with the state to reopen the mall with measures to keep people safe.

LONE TREE, Colo. — Douglas County has requested permission from the state to gradually reopen Park Meadows mall with safety precautions for customers and employees.

The county filed a variance application Friday with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). You can read the full application here, which goes into detail on everything the mall is proposing to keep people safe.

CDPHE must review the application before making a decision.

The safety measures for the mall in Lone Tree would include spacing out sinks in the bathrooms and removing tables from the food court. Retailers inside the mall would have to present their own plans on how to ensure social distancing inside their stores.

The Tri-County Health Department (TCHD) said in a letter dated May 5 that the mall's proposal for reopening goes "above and beyond" the safety requirements put in place for retail businesses due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"We believe that their thoughtful planning will allow retailers within the mall to effectively protect the health and well-being of their employees and guests," said the letter signed by TCHD deputy director Jennifer Ludwig. The letter is included in the variance application.

All indoor malls closed temporarily in late March under the statewide stay-at-home order, which expired April 30.

The Tri-County Health Department extended its stay-at-home order through May 8 for Arapahoe and Adams counties, then transitioned to a safer-at-home order that allows for the reopening of non-essential businesses with some restrictions.

Safety precautions in the Park Meadows reopening proposal include:

  • Cleaning and disinfecting all high-touch surfaces and restrooms, and posting signs to ensure social distancing in restrooms. Every other sink in restrooms would be blocked from use.
  • Not allowing on-premise consumption of food and beverages, and regular disinfecting or removal of tables and chairs from the food court. Food vendors may offer takeout only.
  • Temperature checks and face mask requirements for employees.
  • Posting signs throughout the mall on requirements for social distancing.
  • Putting queue markers at store entrances and tape or other social-distancing markers on the floors in mall common areas, inside stores, and on sidewalks outside public entrances.
  • Ensuring that retailers inside the mall maintain 50% capacity and social distancing between customers and employees.
  • Having mall staff or security officers monitor the flow of pedestrians in common areas and ask groups that might gather in those areas to disperse.
  • Making disinfectant wipes available near shopping carts and baskets, or assigning employees to regularly disinfect carts and baskets. Making hand sanitizer available at entrances and high-traffic areas.
  • Installing plexiglass protectors or shields to limit contact between customers and employees.
  • Providing curbside drop-off and pick-up of products.

Douglas County commissioner Lora Thomas said the county's five hospitals have signed off on the plan. She said the county has been open for business more than some other communities and has had only two hospitalizations due to COVID-19 in the past nine days.

"I think that shows that it's safe, that people can go out and start to resume their lives when they're staying six feet apart from each other, washing their hands, keeping their hands off their faces," she said.

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