Shoe Palace draws long lines as Solano County mall reopens for 1st time in months amid COVID-19 crisis

FAIRFIELD, Calif. (KGO) -- The Solano Town Center in Fairfield opened Wednesday morning for the first time since shutting down for the coronavirus pandemic.

When you walk inside, it's easy to find crews cleaning and disinfecting from floor to counter to soda machine.

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The general manager says about 50 of the mall's 100 stores are still shut down. The rest should be opened by June 2.

Some of the national chains, like Macy's, are among those not ready to open yet but are working to prepare for an opening.

For most of the stores that were open, it was a slow start. The exception was the Shoe Palace - where more than 30 customers waited outside for the store to open at 11.

Many of them wore masks, which is recommended but not required in the mall, but several stood closer than the required six foot safe social distance. The store manager came out several times to warn them to spread out.

A maximum of 30 people were allowed in initially. William Pham was first. He says the people waiting were getting a little frustrated.

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"At first it was okay but maybe when it got closer to the time to go in it got a little hectic" he said.

A young shopper who called himself Anish was shopper number 31 and had to wait until someone left to be allowed in. He wasn't happy about folks in line standing so close.

"We're not going to make foolish decisions. We're going to stay to our six feet but that's on them" he said.

Mall management is asking that these safety precautions are also taken in the parking lot. They are asking people to park their car six feet away from other cars. But they will not be enforcing it, they are just making the request.

They are also asking shoppers to look at a mall map before arriving, find a store that they will be visiting and park near it so they limit their exposure.

There are changes inside, too, like hand sanitizer stations and wipes that are available. They've also made changes to the food court where they have spaced the tables apart and eliminated plastic trays.

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Shoppers will also hear a pre-recorded announcement every few minutes, reminding people to socially distance from others.

Many shoppers we spoke with were happy to be out and about.

"I am not really worried as long as I keep my distance from everyone," said Xavier Alba.

"I'm excited. I've been waiting to come shopping. I've been running out of clothes and stuff so we're just here to walk around and see what we can find," said Gabriella Vela.

The mall is also disinfecting all common spaces and high traffic areas.

The mall will be operating at a reduced schedule: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 12 a.m.-6 p.m. on Sundays.

Later on Wednesday, Solano County's health department announced they are now going to allow salons and barbershops to re-open.

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