Shopping malls in Harford and Baltimore counties continue to be open amid concerns surrounding the novel coronavirus, while noting that individual retailers may adopt their own policies on store closures.
Howard County Executive Calvin Ball ordered The Mall in Columbia be closed for seven days starting Monday after the first cases of COVID-19 were found in Howard.
While no other malls have closed as of mid-day Tuesday, many have canceled scheduled events, ramped up cleaning efforts and adjusted hours.
Events at Harford Mall in Bel Air, including its Easter photo program, have been canceled or postponed and there is an increased frequency of cleaning and sanitizing all high traffic common areas and "touchpoints."
"The health and well-being of our customers, employees, retail partners, and our communities is always a top priority," according to a statement posted on the Harford Mall's website.
“We are closely monitoring updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), have been in contact with the local health department, and are maintaining open lines of communication as this situation evolves.”
Malls in Baltimore County are adopting a similar approach regarding cancelling events and the increasing the frequency of cleaning.
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Some, like White Marsh Mall and Towson Town Center, both owned by Brookfield Properties Retail Group, have modified hours.
White Marsh is now open noon to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Towson will open at noon each day, closing at 7 p.m. every day except Sunday, when it will close at 6 p.m.
Both White Marsh and Towson said all of its restaurant, bar and food court tenants were expected to comply with the governor’s order that they cease on-premise food and beverage consumption. While food court tenants may continue to operate for carryout and delivery service, seating in the food court at both shopping malls would not be permitted, according to the malls’ websites.
The Easter Bunny experience at White Marsh has also been postponed. If the situation changes, it may open closer to the holiday, according to the mall's website. If not, refunds will be issued for reservations.
Both malls’ websites, as well as Harford Mall’s site, note that hours at individual retailers and restaurants may vary, so customers should call ahead of time or check the online store directories.
Eastpoint Mall in Dundalk said on its Facebook page that it has ordered additional automated hand sanitizer dispensers to be put inside the mall’s entrances. It also canceled its March bingo scheduled for Tuesday and its Easter Egg hunt on March 28.
This article may be updated.