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COVID-19

Running a mall, in a time of social distancing

Kai Ryssdal and Bennett Purser Mar 13, 2020
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People walk through a Manhattan shopping mall on Jan. 30, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
COVID-19

Running a mall, in a time of social distancing

Kai Ryssdal and Bennett Purser Mar 13, 2020
People walk through a Manhattan shopping mall on Jan. 30, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
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As more officials urge the public to practice social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic — avoiding mass gatherings and maintaining distance from others when possible — what does that mean for malls and shopping centers?

For years, getting customers in the door has been challenging for many malls, even without a health crisis. Alana Ferko manages the Butte Plaza Mall in Butte, Montana. She spoke with “Marketplace” host Kai Ryssdal about how she’s feeling about the latest events surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak. While there are no confirmed cases yet of the virus in the state, the governor has declared a state of emergency as a precaution.

Ferko recently grappled with cancelling an upcoming concert at the mall with a traveling band, part of the town’s St. Patrick’s day celebration.

“We were in the midst of canceling their performance here, because I just couldn’t put the public at risk,” Ferko said. “But they themselves, god bless them, they canceled their trip to Butte.”

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