A mall in Oklahoma has shown Americans a snapshot of the new normal they will face while the coronavirus pandemic continues.
The Penn Square Mall in Oklahoma City reopened on Friday with a number of “elevated safety standards.” Oklahoma instituted the first phase of its “Open Up & Recover Safely” (OURS) over the past eight days, with the aim to reopen businesses “based on scientific modeling from public health experts.”
Customers wearing face masks could be seen roaming the walkways or sitting alone at tables, observing social distancing wherever possible. Even the bathrooms observed the measures, with every second sink taped off to ensure compliance.
Only around 45 of the mall’s 150 stores were open as of Friday. Food court capacity was reduced to one-third in order to ensure social distancing.
Oklahoma declared a state of emergency on March 15, but the state never instituted a mandatory lockdown, instead favoring a “safer at home” advisement. The state did close down non-essential businesses though.
Should the state maintain “manageable” levels for two weeks, Gov. Stitt will then roll out the next phases of his reopening plan.
Other states, including Texas, Illinois, and Ohio, reopened businesses over the past week.