Simon Property Group reopening more malls as more states reopen amid coronavirus

Simon Property Group reopening more malls as more states reopen amid coronavirus

Simon Property Group, the nation's largest owner and operator of shopping malls, expects to have approximately half of its properties reopened within the next week.

The reopenings have already started and last week 49 properties in 10 states reopened. As of Monday, 77 of the company's 209 properties have reopened, president and CEO David Simon said during an earnings call Monday.

"We were the first large retail owner and operator to close our property system-wide to address the spread of the pandemic," Simon said. "We’re the first to reopen our properties, of course subject to government stay-at-home orders and restrictions."

The Indianapolis-based company shuttered its U.S. properties, which include malls and premium outlets in 38 states, on March 18 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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The company posted a 20% decline in quarterly profits Monday but said it would declare a second quarter dividend before the end of June. Shares of Simon stock surged after the announcement and opened at $60.34 Tuesday, an increase of 9%, before closing down about 1% at $54.54.

Properties that have reopened have limited hours and are open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m on Sunday to allow for overnight cleaning and sanitation.

There also is less seating, directional signs and dividers to control the flow of foot traffic, and free temperature testing via infrared thermometers. The company says it developed its "COVID-19 Exposure Control Policy" in conjunction with a team of experts in epidemiology and environmental health and safety.

"Shopper response to our reopenings has been positive," Simon said. "And sales of many tenants have been better than their initial expectations."

Simon officials did not immediately respond to USA TODAY's request for comment about which malls were reopening.

Contributing: Alexandria Burris, Indianapolis Star

Follow USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko

Source: https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2020/05/12/simon-property-group-reopening-more-malls-after-coronavirus/3114836001/

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