While brands including Nike, Apple and Lululemon are temporarily closing U.S. shops to avoid further spread of COVID-19, many mall operators that house those brands remain open. Property owners including Simon, Brookfield, Taubman and Westfield all appear to have U.S. locations in operation and open to the public, even in areas where the coronavirus has been prevalent.
Simon’s The Westchester, a high-end mall located in White Plains, was open for business on Monday with regular hours, though a customer service representative noted that many stores within the mall have shortened hours. Cases of COVID-19 in Westchester county, which is currently under a state of emergency, number well over 100. A notice on The Westchester’s website says the mall has increased cleaning of areas including children’s play areas and dining areas.
A spokeswoman from Simon did not return a request for comment. On Simon’s homepage, an ad promotes yogawear brand Lululemon as “Brands we love.” Over the weekend, Lululemon announced it is closing all stores in North America and Europe from March 16 through March 27. Like Lululemon, the other stores that have suspended brick-and-mortar shops, such as Apple, Nike and Disney, are anchor tenants as shopper destinations for malls—which have seen shopper traffic decline over the last two decades.
Taubman Centers, which recently announced a deal to be acquired by Simon Property Group, noted that centers remaining open are complying with several mandates for bars and restaurants in certain areas to close or offer only takeout, a spokeswoman says. She notes that food court seating has been removed and that events through March have been canceled. Center hours remain the same.
Neither Westfield nor Brookfield immediately returned inquiries about coronavirus-related closures.