BENSALEM, PA — Mall rats of Bensalem, rejoice! Neshaminy Mall is just one of the local spots that will be opening its doors Friday, when Bucks County moves into the more lenient green phase of Pennsylvania’s coronavirus plan.
“We’re opening Friday, June 26 and taking the necessary steps to ensure you have a safe and worry-free visit,” mall officials wrote in a social media post. “We’ve missed you!”
Get the latest news in Bucks County by signing up for Patch news alerts.
The mall is just one of many businesses in Bensalem gearing up for changes as the county takes a step toward normalcy. And, like other Bensalem businesses, they’ll be doing things a little bit differently than before.
Brookfield Properties, which owns Neshaminy Mall, said it will be limiting the number of customers allowed inside to aid social distancing, has added hand sanitizer stations and rearranged food court seating as well as adding sanitizer wipe stations in the food court so patrons can clean their tables.
They’ve discontinued stroller rentals, increased cleaning and are asking employees to stay home if they’ve shown any signs of being sick within the past 72 hours.
“It is our priority to do all that we can for the well-being of our customers, retailers, employees, and communities,” Brookfield said on its website. “Sharing our plan is important as we work together to re-open and return to the new normal.”
The beginning of the green phase in Bucks County is a welcome change for business owners, many of whom have either been closed or had to operate in limited fashion since Gov. Tom Wolf issued a stay-at-home order in March.
At Parx Casino, one of Bensalem’s other biggest attractions and employers, they’ll be waiting a couple of days to open the doors.
The casino, which shut down on March 16, will reopen at 9 a.m. on Monday, with a long list of extra precautions in place to help fight the spread of the virus.
Visitors and employees will have their temperature checked before being allowed into the casino and masks will be required. Games have been rearranged to increase social distancing and the poker room will not yet be open, according to the casino.
“We are excited to welcome you back and, while things will be different, we are dedicated to offering you an enjoyable gaming and entertainment experience,” Parx said in a news release.
All businesses must continue to abide by the state Department of Health’s guidance for operating in the COVID-19 disaster emergency.
Bars, gyms, barber shops and hair salons also are among the businesses that will be allowed to open their doors for the first time since March and restaurants may once again allow diners into their dining rooms — albeit, at 50 percent capacity.
“A lot of our members are excited they’re finally able to open back up and bring in revenue and bring back their staff,” said Minesh Pathak, executive director of the Lower Bucks Chamber of Commerce.
Pathak said some restaurant members have been able to do OK with curbside and takeout sales and some that are in manufacturing say they’ve been busy as well.
“On the flip side, there are some members who are struggling right now and don’t know if they’re going to make it out of this, even with the reopening this Friday,” he said.
“We’ve been getting a lot of phone calls from the businesses, members and non-member businesses as well,” Pathak said. “We’re assisting everyone.”
The most common question, Pathak said, has been businesses asking where they can get masks and other personal protective equipment.
“I am hearing that a lot of businesses are going to require customers wear masks,” he said. “I spoke to a couple of businesses and they’re requiring masks. You cannot come into a location without a mask on.”
He expects customers to be cautious as well.
“I think for the most part, people are going to be very cautious,” he said. “I think they’ll kind of think twice. ‘Do I really need to go out and get this item?’ “
While much has been made about anti-mask protests and online complaints about them, Patak said he has not heard from any chamber members who have been open during the shutdown who had problems with patrons refusing to wear them.
“I personally feel that if everyone does their part, we’ll get through this,” he said. “Our county has done a great job so far keeping the numbers down.”
At the Golden Corral, on Street Road in Bensalem, doors will open on Friday with extra social distancing and sanitation measures in place. They include changes to the restaurant chain’s trademark buffet.
For now, Golden Corral is offering “we serve you” buffet service along with “endless entrees,” that require increased table service.
“Are you ready? We are one day away from our doors reopening!” the Bensalem location said on its Facebook page. “Remember, we have put some great plans in place to keep you safe!”
Finding Our Way Forward: See more stories about Pennsylvania’s coronavirus recovery
This article originally appeared on the Bensalem Patch