University Park Mall to re-open this weekend
MISHAWAKA, Ind. - A little more than a month after it closed out of caution towards the Coronavirus pandemic, University Park Mall could reopen as soon as this weekend.
Simon Properties, the company that owns University Park Mall, said in a memo on Tuesday that it will be opening 49 of its properties across the United States this weekend. One of those properties is University Park Mall.
People in Michiana have mixed feelings about the announcement.
Cornelius Barnes said he is excited to see people "get back to work," saying the economy has suffered enough, but he was cautious with his optimism.
"You've got to take every situation independently," Barnes said. "If I had my mom here with me right now, I would have probably told my son 'No, I don't want you going down there.' She's 72 years old...It's a virus, and we can't just live our lives being scare of what ifs."
Barnes said he hopes people will continue to be aware of the dangers of COVID-19, especially if they live with someone who is in the high risk category.
"Different individuals, are they sickly?" Barnes said. "Are they elderly? And you've got to look at things like that. If you have someone in your home or you are, on a consistent basis, visiting someone that is up in age or sick at home, I would say you might need to watch that. If you do go to the mall and come back, wash your hands well or even take a shower before you go in there."
While Barnes is cautiously optimistic, others said opening now is not a good idea.
"Probably not. Yeah, no," said University Park Mall shopper Ti'auna Brown when asked if she would go to the mall this weekend. "My mom's not going to let me go anyway."
Brown said she felt the coronavirus is still too dangerous to open the mall.
I don't know. I really don't think it should be opening this soon because of all the stuff that's going on," Brown said. "Anything can happen. Somebody could cough on somebody."
Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb said the state will announce what it will take for the mall to re-open and comply with state social distancing guidelines soon.
"Well the ifs and the details will be shared on Friday, and I'm not trying to hide the ball," Governor Holcomb said. "I'm not trying to be cute here. We're going to use between now and Friday at 2:30 to make sure we've properly thought through all sectors, and I would share it with you if I had it. But it's not ready to go, yet."
We reached out to the St. Joseph County Health Department for comment on the re-opening. The department has not yet responded to our request.