Ridgedale Center in Minnetonka became the latest Twin Cities mall to close due to COVID-19. It closed Monday at 5 p.m. although more than 90% of its tenants had closed a week or two earlier. A few restaurants with exterior entrances remain open for takeout, including Chipotle, Cheesecake Factory and Cafe Zupas. No retailers with exterior entrances are still open.
“After many thoughtful discussions, we have made the difficult decision to temporarily close our shopping centers. While there will not be access to the common areas of the properties, we understand the importance of tenants with essential resources. For that reason, tenants with exterior-facing entrances, including restaurants, that are considered essential retail will still be available to you, “ said Brookfield Properties spokeswoman Rachel Wille in a statement. Brookfield, based in Chicago, is the current owner of the mall.
That leaves Rosedale and HarMar Mall in Roseville and Burnsville Center left for shoppers, but few stores there are still selling their wares. Roseville Mayor Dan Roe said that he has only heard from two constituents wondering why Rosedale is still open. “We don’t see a lot of activity at those malls right now with more than 90% of the stores closed,” he said Tuesday. “As long as the mall walkers and customers are practicing social distancing and other safety measures, we don’t see an issue yet.”
Burnsville Mayor Elizabeth Kautz said she received one inquiry from a resident that was answered to his satisfaction by mall management. “A mall shutdown was not included in the governor’s directive,” she said. “We’ve taken steps to ensure customer and employee health including extra cleaning and sanitation as well as closing the food court and the kids play area. We’re trying to balance commerce and the concern for people’s health and well-being.”
Maplewood Mall, Northtown Mall, Eden Prairie Center, and Crossroads Mall in St. Cloud also closed recently. Like Ridgedale, some stores with exterior entrances may still be open. Barnes & Noble and Potbelly Sandwich Shop continue to be open with modified hours in Eden Prairie Center.
Currently all malls except Burnsville Center have limited hours. This week, Rosedale reduced its hours to noon to 5 p.m. Burnsville Center’s hours have been maintained at 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., although some stores have chosen more limited hours.
Logan McKee owns Games by James stores in Rosedale and Burnsville Center, one of fewer than eight stores open in either mall. “It’s a lot like Christmas Eve,” he said. “Not much traffic, but the customers coming in are buying a lot of stuff and not asking any questions.”