Wherever you go shopping today and in the days and weeks ahead during Covid-19 restrictions in New Jersey, it'll be a mask while you shop situation.

On the eve of the end of June, all malls around the state can reopen for customers on Monday but social distancing and mask wearing remain the theme for our temporary new normal.

As should be the case with going anywhere though, if you're not feeling well, whether it's Covid-19 related or not, stay home, rest up and get better.

The Ocean County Mall located in Toms River has been developing their own safety plan to make sure staff at all the stores and customers walking around are safe and can stay healthy.

They are indeed back open as of today and all their stores and workers know the new rules and cleaning requirements to keep their doors rotating back and forth.

In preparation for the big day, Ocean County Mall officials have been working with Epidemeiology and Environmental Health and Safety teams to install safety standards.

On another note, they've also joined alongside local non-profits they said to help those in the community experiencing hardships.

"The health, safety and well-being of the community we serve will always be our highest priority, and we have developed a thorough and detailed set of protocols highlighting the exceptional measures we’ve implemented for shoppers, retailers and employees as we reopen,” Tara Melodick, General Manager at Ocean County Mall, said in a Monday release. “We also recognize that individuals and families in our community are suffering significant hardship as a result of both COVID-19 and the economic shutdown, and we believe that reopening our property will not only help people get back to work during these challenging times, but also enable us to use our property to further support charitable initiatives."

Here are the safety protocols now in place at the Ocean County Mall:

  • Enhanced sanitization and disinfecting using the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) approved products with an emphasis on high-traffic locations such as dining areas, restrooms, escalators, stairs, directories, trash bins and door knobs.
  • Shopper safeguards that include making available protective masks, sanitizing wipes and temperature testing at entrances or property offices, as well as the encouragement of pre-visit health screenings to ensure shoppers stay home if they have exhibited COVID-19 or flu-like symptoms within 72 hours.
  • Hand sanitizing stations will be deployed throughout the property.
  • Signage promoting CDC guidelines for maintaining personal hygiene will be prominently displayed throughout the property.
  • Pre-emptive employee health screening to ensure that employees do not arrive at work within 72 hours of exhibiting COVID-19 or flu-like symptoms.
  • Employee safety protections including implementing the CDC’s COVID-19 frequent hand-washing protocols, and offering personal protective equipment in addition to other CDC recommended practices.
  • Promotion and enforcement of social distancing practices, including occupancy limitations, furniture and restroom spacing, closure of play areas and strollers, as well as coordinated traffic flow with traffic signage and distance markers.

The Ocean County Mall closed on March 19 and are certainly looking forward to reopening and bringing in some revenue to keep things comfortable afloat.

Melodick said that the Ocean County Mall provides more than 1,800 jobs and contributes $10.0 million of sales tax and $2.3 million in property tax revenue to the state.

These tax receipts fund essential services in communities, including education and infrastructure as well as health and safety services.

“Our property is an integral part of our community not only in terms of shopping, dining and entertainment, but also job creation, small business growth and community support. We look forward to once again serving the needs of our community, and doing so in a safe and responsible manner,” Melodick said.

You can follow Vin Ebenau on Twitter and Instagram and email news tips to vin.ebenau@townsquaremedia.com.

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