Briarwood Mall in Ann Arbor reopens with enhanced safety protocols

Mall reopens after 10-week closure due to COVID-19 pandemic

Williams Sonoma at Briarwood Mall in Ann Arbor. (Robert W Stewart | Simon Property Group)

ANN ARBOR – Briarwood Mall announced that it will reopen on Thursday after closing its doors on March 19 over health concerns relating to the coronavirus outbreak.

The news comes after several Metro Detroit area malls announced reopenings this week.

In accordance with Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Executive Order 2020-96, customers can shop by appointment at stores.

Mall officials published enhanced safety protocols developed with health experts in order to ensure heightened safety standards at the property. All tenants are expected to adhere to the new protocols.

In addition to new mall procedures, the property has partnered with local nonprofits to assist those experiencing hardship in the community due to COVID-19.

“The health, safety and well-being of the community we serve will always be our highest priority, and we have developed a thorough and detailed set of protocols highlighting the exceptional measures we’ve implemented for shoppers, retailers and employees as we reopen,” Erika Williams, General Manager at Briarwood Mall said in a news release.

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“We also recognize that individuals and families in our community are suffering significant hardship as a result of both COVID-19 and the economic shutdown, and we believe that reopening our property will not only help people get back to work during these challenging times, but also enable us to use our property to further support charitable initiatives.”

According to a news release, new safety protocols include:

  • Enhanced sanitization and disinfecting using the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) approved products with an emphasis on high-traffic locations such as dining areas, restrooms, escalators, stairs, directories, trash bins and door knobs.
  • Shopper safeguards that include making available protective masks, sanitizing wipes and temperature testing at entrances or property offices, as well as the encouragement of pre-visit health screenings to ensure shoppers stay home if they have exhibited COVID-19 or flu-like symptoms within 72 hours.
  • Hand sanitizing stations will be deployed throughout the property.
  • Signage promoting CDC guidelines for maintaining personal hygiene will be prominently displayed throughout the property.
  • Pre-emptive employee health screening to ensure that employees do not arrive at work within 72 hours of exhibiting COVID-19 or flu-like symptoms.
  • Employee safety protections including implementing the CDC’s COVID-19 frequent hand-washing protocols, and offering personal protective equipment in addition to other CDC recommended practices.
  • Promotion and enforcement of social distancing practices, including occupancy limitations, furniture and restroom spacing, closure of play areas and strollers, as well as coordinated traffic flow with traffic signage and distance markers.

Briarwood Mall has joined a national initiative to host COVID-19 mobile testing, clothing donations, food banks and blood drives as part of an outreach program to nonprofits, government agencies and 1,300 health providers.

Briarwood Mall provides more than 2,000 jobs to members of the local community and contributes $2.8 million in property tax and $13.2 million of sales tax revenue to the state.

According to property officials, these tax receipts fund essential community services, including infrastructure, education and health and safety services.

“Our property is an integral part of our community not only in terms of shopping, dining and entertainment, but also job creation, small business growth and community support. We look forward to once again serving the needs of our community, and do so in a safe and responsible manner,” said Williams in a statement.

About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.