As the metro area deals with tighter restrictions on businesses, Park Meadows remains bustling with shoppers as the mall’s busiest season begins.
Pam Kelly, senior general manager for Park Meadows Retail Resort, recently stated the mall has been the subject of zero confirmed outbreaks, as determined by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The CDPHE is responsible for tracking outbreaks, or a sudden rise in positive COVID-19 cases, throughout the state.
Kelly said mall officials remain vigilant on all fronts to curb the spread of the disease at Park Meadows.
“The last thing in the world we want is a closure,” Kelly said, noting that the Tri-County Health Department has given the mall good marks for its social distancing protocols. “All of that is because the stores and the restaurants are doing the protocols that are put in place.”
Park Meadows has operated under a special variance from CDPHE since May. Under that exemption, Park Meadows had to implement enhanced cleaning measures, like regular use of electrostatic cleaning devices, installing a special heating, ventilation and cooling system, and removing most of their common-area “soft” seating. Masks are required at all times inside the mall, except when seated in the dining area.
However, Park Meadows’ greatest challenge this year looms. Nov. 27 is Black Friday, the mall’s busiest day of the year. On Nov. 13, Douglas County moved to Level 3 “Safer at Home” orders, limiting store capacity to 25% as opposed to 50%.
The shopping season could still have that holiday feel. Park Meadows is offering a “touchless” Santa this year. Parents can make reservations online to have their child take a photo with Santa. Kids can choose whether or not to wear a mask for the photo.
“After this year, too, our biggest thing was trying to make people feel that holiday spirit again and make people feel cheerful again, after this year has been brutal on everybody,” said Whitney Miller, director of the Park Meadows business improvement district. “We have done marketing campaigns about shopping safely, about gifting kindness, about making memories still because we still can do that. It just looks a little bit different this year. We don’t want to take the entire experience away, like some places are. We just want to make it so it’s more accessible to everybody and a safe environment.”
Kelly said the touchless Santa could be more successful than the tradition of lap-sitting and Christmas small talk.
“Kids get to see Santa, they get their picture taken and they’re not as scared as kids sometimes are,” Kelly said. “They’ll still have the million lights and 3-D glasses to keep, get their picture, by reservation only, so there’s no big lines…
“We try to keep it as safe as possible.”
Patrons get 15 minutes to walk around the Santa display and take as many selfies as they want. Kids can talke to Santa and have their photo taken as well. The display opens Nov. 20.
Kelly added that the mall offers a new program called the “jingle ring,” in which kids can get a personalized message from Santa and Mrs. Claus and listen to them read a Christmas story online.
“Not only is it the culture of Park Meadows, it’s the culture of Lone Tree,” Kelly said about providing the Santa options. “There’s so many of the Colorado experiences we’re not sure people are to be able to do this holiday season, so for us to just do a (picture) frame or something `not Colorado’…doesn’t seem aligned with our purpose in the community.”
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