As malls reopen, health experts encourage shoppers to wear masks


MEMPHIS, Tenn. — As malls and other businesses open back up in the Memphis area, doctors are concerned people aren’t doing enough to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Oak Court Mall reopened Monday morning. Several stores did not reopen, but there was a steady flow of customers.

The mall says it won’t allow large gatherings and encourages everyone to wear face coverings. It’s also offering hand sanitizer.

Members of the local COVID-19 taskforce say they’ll be watching as this will be critical if we’re going to avoid a spike in cases.

“I want to do my part,” shopper Lloyd Davis said. “Hopefully I don’t get it, and to keep it from spreading to somebody else. I’m just trying to be health conscious.”

Not everyone feels the same. Several shoppers were without masks and Davis says that sends a clear message.

“It says two things to me about that person without knowing them. First of all they don’t care and second of all it’s not going to affect me,” Davis said.

Doctors say that’s the wrong mindset.

Video taken Saturday shortly after Wolfchase Galleria opened showed not much social distancing and few masks.

“If we really want to keep our businesses open and we don’t want to see a spike in this and have to shut everything down again for another six or eight weeks, we’ve got to cover our faces,” said Dr. Jeff Warren, a member of the COVID-19 task force. “My mask really doesn’t protect me. Your mask doesn’t protect you. My mask protects you and your mask protects me. So this is a politeness issue.”

The mall’s general manager says they will use security guards and additional police officers as needed for enforcement.

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