COSTA MESA (CBSLA) – One of the most popular malls in the Southland reopened on Monday to indoor shopping for the first time in nearly two months thanks to the new coronavirus guidelines laid out by health officials last week.
The South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa reopened more than 100 boutique shops, along with over 20 restaurants for outdoor dining, takeout and curbside pickup. However, capacity will be at only 25%, per state guidelines.
“Come in, go to your favorite shops, by your packages, and then leave,” Costa Mesa Mayor Katrina Foley said. “We’re not going to be able to have that traditional Plaza experience where you’re hanging out in the Plaza.”
Hours will run from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. The Plaza, which is the largest shopping center on the West Coast, has been taking creative measures to keep its stores afloat. Earlier this month, it repurposed its parking garage to serve as the shopping center pavilion.
Wearing masks, sales associates brought Rolex watches, purses and high-end clothing to guests in their own private open-air suites.
The South Coast Plaza and other area malls has been on a roller coaster of sorts. After being shuttered in mid-March at the start of the pandemic, it was allowed to reopen in May, only to be ordered to close again in mid-July.
California’s new four-tier system to track the spread of the coronavirus was unveiled Friday by Gov. Gavin Newsom. Under the system, Orange County is under the purple tier, the worst level, labeled “widespread.”
However, while most indoor operations must remain closed under the purple tier, the new system authorizes counties at any tier to reopen indoor barbershops, hair salons and shopping malls at 25% capacity beginning Monday.
Prior to switching to the new tier-system, O.C. had just been removed from the state’s coronavirus monitoring list due to its low numbers.
Officials believe that the county is on the verge of being upgraded to the next tier of red if the current trends continue. Dozens of private schools and a handful of public ones have already been given waivers to reopen their campuses to in-person learning.