The Latest on Sunrise Mall (March 19, 8:30 p.m.):
Sunrise Mall announced it would be temporarily closed starting at the end of the business day on Thursday.
Original story below:
CITRUS HEIGHTS, Calif. (KTXL) — Although Sunrise Mall slightly shortened their hours, flyers could be seen all around the building Wednesday telling shoppers they plan to stay open.
Security gates were down and closed store signs were posted but a fearless few just could not stay away from Sunrise Mall in Citrus Heights.
It was just one day ago when health officials told people to stay at home. The Sacramento County Health Department directed people less vulnerable to developing complications to COVID-19 Tuesday to only go out for “essential activities” like grocery shopping or visiting the pharmacy.
But as Gordillo drove around with his daughter Wednesday, he saw the open sign at Sunrise Mall and thought he would run in for a quick errand.
“I walk in that place, there’s not even a sound in that place. In this beautiful mall, there were no people in there at all,” he told FOX40. “I was just like, whoa, it feels like it’s the end of the world here.”
His local jewelry shop decided to take the advice of local health officials and temporarily close. Many corporate stores are doing the same.
But for smaller stores, like where Adona Torscher works to support her family of seven, they made the call to stay open.
“I’m not really sure how a mall is considered essential but the mall wants us to stay open,” Torscher said. “I guess it’s just about money.”
FOX40 obtained a letter from Sunrise Mall sent out to businesses leasing space inside. It reads in part:
While the Landlord will not mandate at this moment that tenants remain open for business or close its doors, we would like to remind you that you will continue being liable for all obligations under your lease.
“I don’t understand how they can still expect people to pay their leases when there’s not even any income coming in really,” Torscher said.
Torscher has two choices: go to work and risk exposure to COVID-19 or stay home and risk losing her job.
“If you have a family, that’s really tough to have to sit there and be like, OK well, I don’t want to get my family sick. But we can’t afford to live if I lose this job,” she explained.
While officials with Sacramento County Health Department told FOX40 they do not consider going to the mall an “essential activity,” they also said they cannot “command” how businesses carry out the new directives:
The goal for all of us is to protect those who are the most vulnerable from exposure to carriers of COVID-19. We recognize that it would not be possible to list all the essential sites that less vulnerable populations can go to or command how individuals and businesses must carry out these directives. Individuals and employers need to weigh the risk of exposure to the public and operating as usual.Sacramento County spokesperson Kim Nava
Please visit our COVID-19 website for more information and details about Sacramento County Public Health’s directive.
Workers say mall hours between Monday and Saturday have shortened and will be 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Mason Asset Management and Namdar Realty Group, the owner of the property, sent FOX40 News a statement on Thursday, the same day the county issued a legal order for residents to stay home unless there are essential errands or duties:
“We are committed to ensuring the health and safety of all patrons, merchants, and employees at each of our properties. We have been monitoring the situation with regards to COVID-19 carefully, and we have taken a number of actions on-site to prepare, out of an abundance of caution for our local community. In order to protect both patrons, merchants and employees, we have ramped up cleaning efforts throughout common areas, and we have closed mall-operated entertainment including children’s play areas and carousels, as well as food court seating areas. Our properties are community centers where families can gather the supplies they need to weather the next few weeks, and we are working hard to ensure their health and safety while our doors remain open. That said, we are continuing to monitor the situation on a case-by-case basis, and ask that our communities bear with us as we adjust policies per the ongoing recommendations of local officials and the CDC.”Mason Asset Management and Namdar Realty Group