Shoppers and employees donned masks and observed social distancing measures as South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa opened its doors on Monday for the first time in several months.
The mall is currently open to about 25% capacity with the majority of stores remaining closed for the time being.
Shoppers like Nicole Mendoza, 25, of Santa Ana had been waiting for the mall to open to be able to make a return.
“We came because we purchased shoes for curbside pickup on June 16 but couldn’t try them on until I got home, and they didn’t fit. I couldn’t return them until the stores were open and now, we’re here,” Mendoza said while waiting in line outside the Louis Vuitton store.
Gigi Miranda, 30, of Los Angeles was also in line outside the Louis Vuitton store and said she had some trepidations about visiting the indoor location.
“I didn’t know it was open. I went to Fashion Island, but they didn’t have the purse I was looking for, so I came here. There’s not always an outdoor option,” Miranda said.
Store employees were optimistic about the reopening.
Ally Robinson, a store brand leader for Free People, said that her store was shut down from March to June 12 then reopened for about a month only to close again.
Now that her store has reopened, Robinson was optimistic after the first day.
“It’s busier than we expected with a sudden reopening rather than a gradual one,” Robinson said.
She added that being open for one month during the summer made her feel prepared for Monday’s opening.
Macy’s employee Elizabeth Gomez also said that the mall reopening meant increased foot traffic to her store, which was allowed to remain open since June 8 because of the outdoor entrance to the store.
“[It’s been] busy, which is a good thing. I was tired of it being slow. We were going crazy with in-house,” Gomez said of the lack of customers while the rest of the mall was shut down.
She hopes South Coast Plaza is able to return to 100% capacity before Christmas to boost sales.
She also doesn’t expect another shutdown anytime soon.
“If everyone respects the guidelines, we should be fine to stay open,” Gomez said.