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.”