In any other year, Santa would have been at Park Meadows since Halloween. A practically necessary addition for any mall during the holiday shopping seasons of November and December, Santa almost …
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In any other year, Santa would have been at Park Meadows since Halloween.
A practically necessary addition for any mall during the holiday shopping seasons of November and December, Santa almost didn't come at all this year to Park Meadows, due to ongoing concerns with the pandemic.
Park Meadows' senior general manager, Pam Kelly, felt it was more important than ever to give kids a chance to visit Santa.
Kids passing by the massive North Pole set on Nov. 13 stopped to peek at the set. The mall spends roughly $1 million every year on seasonal decorations.
Families will get 15 minutes to walk the display and take selfies with the decorations. Patrons must be masked but can remove their masks for photos.
Santa will be at Park Meadows beginning Nov. 20. Kids can talk to Santa through the touchless display, a microphone through plexiglass fitted onto a giant sleigh.
Colorado Community Media spoke with Kelly as the holiday season approaches:
What is Black Friday going to look like?
We open at 7 a.m. Macy's, Dick's (Sporting Goods) and JCPenney open at 5 a.m. A lot of the stores have done Black Friday throughout the whole month of November. We are open from 7 (a.m. to) 9 p.m. Being open 14 hours, the concept is the longer we're open the more spread out the shopping time is. We are also open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturdays.
During Black Friday weekend, do the capacity limits currently in place stay the same?
Yes. The 50% (capacity limit) is in the stores. At the shopping center, the whole building is 2 million square feet, so its capacity limit is pretty high. But we watch what the tracker counts each hour as (customers) come in. We have a contingency plan (to limit capacity further, if necessary), but we've not reached anything close to that.
Will most stores have “Black Friday”-type sales throughout the month?
They all started last weekend (Nov. 6-9). We're heavily discouraging them from having Black Friday-only sales.
But stores still could have Black Friday-only sales?
Oh, sure. They just have to be willing to limit their numbers. You have the wait list, but no matter what, we're not allowing anyone to exceed that gathering limitation for people waiting to get into their stores.
What are some changes you've noticed around here that could stick around for the long run at Park Meadows?
I think the concept of hygiene. I think we're going to maintain all of our sanitation stations. We're going to maintain our cleaning. We're much more mindful of it, which is important, past COVID, because we still have a pretty significant flu season every year, and I think what we've learned from this is we're just going to be a safer place in the long run.
The hand sanitizing stations, many of our cleaning protocols—we invested all that money into sanitizing equipment, I'm not going to just give it up. Even if I only used it in the restrooms, it would be a good thing to do. The MERV-13 (minimum efficiency reporting value), the antibacterial filtration system — with that, the smoke and the other problems we have in Colorado — these things will help mitigate some of those problems as well, moving into the future.
Do you expect a significant loss to your projected revenue bottom line because of the pandemic?
Sales won't be equal to what they were the year prior. There's no expectation of that. We do hope the consumer still supports their local bricks-and-mortar people and I think they will. We're reliable. We get immediate gratification. You get to see the sparkle. You get to actually participate in the magic of Christmas. If you've been all cooped up, quarantining and safe-distancing, with the extended hours — especially if you want to come on the early side, the first hour or the last hour — it's a very safe environment all the time, but then you don't even feel crowded.
The best news is, perhaps, that since you've reopened in May, zero outbreaks have been traced to Park Meadows. When you see that statistic, what do you think?
It speaks to the stores. It speaks to the commitment of the managers in the stores and the customers. We still deal, on a daily basis, with customers, and even a few employees, that don't want to wear their masks. That is a criteria. You have to have a mask to shop here and to work here, certainly.
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