When the doors at the Micronesia Mall opened at 11 a.m. Sunday morning, there were more than 100 people waiting in line outside, each willingly spacing themselves at the appropriate social distance.
Bobby Santos of Barrigada was among them. “Of course, we need to be safe,” he said, “but I’m excited that the mall is opening today.”
Malls and many, but not all, retail stores around the island are back in business following the Governor’s declaration of Pandemic Condition of Readiness 2 that took effect at 8 a.m. Sunday.
“I need a new battery for my watch. It’s (only) good twice a day,” said David Runyon of Yigo. He’s been waiting for the past 7 weeks to visit the watch repair shop inside the Mall.
“We’ve been closed since March 20,” said Micronesia Mall General Manager Fred Yamon. “We have to start somehow.”
The shopping experience, however, is not quite the same as it was before.
Face masks are mandatory. “No mask, no entry,” said Yamon.
The temperature of everyone who enters is taken at the door. Anyone with a fever measuring 100.4 or higher won’t be allowed in. And once you get in, you’ll need to spread a dose of sanitizer over your hands.
Tenants have been asking when they could re-open, said Yamon, but not everyone did.
Macy’s is not yet open. The Tango movie theater is still closed. And it’s take-out only at the food court.
“It’s been very frustrating,” said Dale Audet, a small business owner. “The assistance that we’ve been trying to get as a small business owner it’s just not there.”
“Everything is geared towards people that either don’t have anything or have everything,” said Audet. “I’m in the borderline. It just doesn’t seem like there’s help.”
He doesn’t think it was necessary for stores and businesses to be closed this long.
“We could easily have implemented all these processes a lot quicker,” he said. “We just gotta pray and make our way through it. It’s all we can do.”