American Dream Set to Open Some Stores This Month Despite Coronavirus Fears

UPDATE: American Dream Outlines Coronavirus Plan (Mar. 11, 2020; 3:30 pm ET)

In response to FN’s request for comment a spokesperson for American Dream provided the following statement:

“The public safety and health of our guests is a top priority at American Dream. Our safety philosophy focuses first on prevention, and that guides our existing protocols for cleaning and sanitizing public areas, as well as educating our team members, tenants and guests on safe, sanitary practices.

Following the public guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we are intensifying those already strong efforts. In addition to the rigorous cleaning protocol we already follow, that means reminding our team members about the importance of personal care, including proper hand-washing; staying home if they are ill; covering their nose and mouth if they are coughing or sneezing; and, frequently wiping down work surfaces. It also means increased efforts with our guests, including adding more hand-sanitizing stations throughout the property and providing visible educational messages about preventative actions.

We will continue to monitor the CDC guidelines closely and follow their lead if additional actions are required.”

What We Reported Earlier (Mar. 11, 2020; 11:15 am ET)

The looming coronavirus outbreak has forced many major retailers to shut down offices, close stores and cancel in-person meetings. But, despite growing fears of the virus’ impact, the American Dream mega mall in New Jersey still has plans to open at least portions of its retail arm this month.

According to a press release issued by American Dream in September 2019, several of the mall’s retail stores and restaurants were expected to see a grand opening this month. American Dream’s official website continues to list its grand opening date as March 19 although the opening of various stores will be staggered across several weeks or months.

A CMX Luxury Movie Theater was also originally supposed to open this March, but it has since been removed from the mall’s list of attractions opening in Spring 2020.

Many retailers, including Nordstrom, REI and Walmart have announced plans to thoroughly clean stores and update paid time off policies for retail workers due to coronavirus. So far, there there have been no official statements from American Dream on how the mall will handle the outbreak during its upcoming opening.

Complications with openings due to coronavirus is not the first obstacle that American Dream — which has shouldered a range of setbacks under various owners in the nearly two decades it’s been in the making —  has had to face. The mega complex is also located in Bergen County, N.J., which has blue laws dating back to the 1600s that will force all of its retail stores — from Zara to Dolce & Gabbana — to close every Sunday.

Zara, H&M, Aritzia, Uniqlo, Old Navy and Primark are among the stores expected to open at American Dream on March 19. Following the upcoming opening, a luxury retail section is slated to open in September 2020.

American Dream has not yet responded to FN’s request for comment.

(Editor’s Note: This story has been updated and amended to reflect new commentary from spokespeople for American Dream.)

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