Sunday, June 16, 2024

Franklin Park vs. COVID: How the mall is dealing with new restrictions

Have the requests for extra cheese on your Auntie Anne’s pretzel been forever replaced by Clicklist? Do you miss finding those little perfume strips in the bottom of your purse or pants pockets? Has your window shopping been relegated to sitting on couches and watching screens? And when was the last time you asked someone to meet you at the mall?

Toledo’s Franklin Park Mall, established in 1971, has long been the place for in-person shopping, dining and gathering. Giants like Dillard’s, JCPenney and Dick’s Sporting Goods anchor numerous restaurants, a multiplex theater and retail enclaves.

The mall was back for business and “glad to see” folks after the state’s mandatory quarantine ended on May 11, but with new hours and a suggested call-ahead policy. Here’s what you need to know before you call you head out to shop.

Thousands of masks

Franklin Park Mall is adhering to the guidelines set by the CDC and health department: cleaning frequently trafficked areas and surfaces like garbage bins, bathroom sinks, door handles, food court chairs and counters. Each shopper and staff member must be wearing a mask. Mall security personnel are at the ready with masks for any patron arriving without one.  “(T)hey’ve given away thousands,” Mike Minns, manager of Franklin Park Mall says. “We don’t want to chase anyone away.”

Mall walkers, shoppers and people who might just want to people-watch, are welcomed Monday through Saturday from 11 am until 7 pm, and Sunday from noon until 6 pm. Roof parking is closed.

Check this map to find the parking area closest to the stores you’re targeting. Be prepared to see floor markers indicating safe social distancing and blocked off sinks, urinals and chairs for adherence to the 6-feet rule.

“There’s also a— I would say calming, if you work here— voice that comes over the loudspeaker reminding everyone to stay safe, wear their mask and maintain social distancing,” Minns says.

Most shoppers have been compliant and patient with adapting to the new normal. Still, a quick check-in at a kiosk shows a new trend, coming into month six of coronavirus culture. “It’s pretty different…a lot of people come up without masks on and we have to tell them to put them on,” says Danielle Hitts, from Auntie Anne’s pretzel kiosk, who explains that more people are paying with credit/debit cards because they cannot give out change and, while business has been slower, it picks up on the weekends.

Come back for classics

Stores are enforcing a strict limit on the number of customers who can be inside at any given time. For busy times, a queue is set up for shoppers. Stores have upped their sanitation game. Foot Locker has a posted policy of closing briefly at 3pm and 6:30pm each day to allow for deep cleaning of the store.

Wanna go to the movies? As an incentive to patronize the mall’s Cinemark location, tickets have been reduced to $5 and $3 (adults/kids). Private viewing parties are being offered for up to 20 people for $99. The theater is currently showing “Comeback Classics” including Jurassic Park, Jumanji and Raiders of the Lost Ark. The website stresses that everyone must wear a mask in the theater, excepting while eating or drinking.

More information can be found on the mall’s social media pages, updated to answer questions and communicate with the public. For folks who are uncomfortable with shopping in person, check out the mall’s online shopping site.

Minns explains that each store regulates their own hours of operation or implementing temporary closings for any reason during this pandemic. “The website is useful to communicate those closings. I think right now Godiva is the only store that has closed, and Apple has closed most of their stores,” Minns says.

“We intend to have Franklin Park Mall remain a safe and exciting place for guests to shop, dine and be entertained.”

Franklin Park Mall
5001 Monroe St. Toledo, OH 43623


Franklin Park

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