Big changes coming as Northern Virginia malls reopen their doors on Friday

New safety measures are emerging as Northern Virginia prepares to move into phase one and reopen businesses Friday. Malls are preparing to open their doors as well, including Potomac Mills, and there will be big changes for employees and shoppers.

Changes include limiting the number of shoppers on the property, sanitizing high-touch areas, and encouraging shoppers to take their temperatures before coming inside the mall.

Download the FOX 5 DC News App for Local Breaking News and Weather
Malls opening include Potomac Mills, Pentagon City, Springfield Town Center (partially), Fair Oaks and Manassas Mall (partially).

Simon Properties, which operates Potomac Mills, says changes will also include offering shoppers infrared thermometers once inside.
This information is posted on their website. Simon also operates the Fashion Center at Pentagon City mall. 

We’re told free masks and hand sanitizing packets will also be available and Simon employees must all wear face masks and take frequent breaks for hand washing.

While Simon makes no mention of requiring masks for shoppers, Governor Ralph Northam’s mask mandate goes into effect Friday so it would likely be required inside the mall.

Seating arrangements in the food court have also been drastically reduced to promote social distancing.

Children’s play areas, rides and more will remain closed.

RELATED: Gov Ralph Northam says Northern Virginia on track for phase 1; statewide mask order in effect Friday

Simon Properties says customers could be asked to wait in their cars based on the mall’s capacity.

Also, we’re told on site security staff will enforce and remind customers to social distance.

Social distancing signage will also be in place as a reminder and PSAs playing on screens throughout the mall.

RELATED: Northern Virginia joins the rest of the Commonwealth for phase 1 reopening today

There will also be dividers placed at entryways allowing one way in and out.


In order to protect yourself from a possible infection, the CDC recommends:

- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

- Stay home when you are sick.

- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

Here is everything you need to create your own hand sanitizer, according to WHO:

According to WHO, these alcohol-based handrubs are a known means for rapidly and effectively inactivating a wide array of potentially harmful microorganisms on hands.

The CDC recommends using a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.

- Ethanol 96% or isopropyl alcohol 99.8%: 8333 ml or 2.2 gallons of ethanol or 7515 ml or 2 gallons of isopropyl alcohol

- Hydrogen peroxide 3%, which is used to inactivate contaminating bacterial spores in the solution and is not an active substance for hand antisepsis: 417 ml or 1.76 cups

- Glycerol 98%, which acts as a moisturizer: 145 ml or 0.6 cups

- Sterile distilled or boiled cold water

Click here for the full instructions on how to make your own hand sanitizer.