News, Culture & Society

Nervous shoppers shun Texas malls despite Gov Greg Abbott allowing them to reopen 

A Californian mall has reopened and defied Governor Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home order as shoppers poured in – while nervous customers across Texas and Florida shunned shopping centers even though they are allowed to visit.

People flocked to the Yuba City mall Wednesday as it called time on complying with Newsom’s executive order to keep non-essential businesses shuttered to slow the spread of coronavirus and became the first Californian mall to reopen.  

But in states where malls and retailers have been told they can reopen, shopping centers lay deserted as people decided to keep staying home 

In Austin, the newly-reopened Domain mall failed to pull in shoppers and was left looking like a ghost town, growing fears that relaxing lockdowns early could trigger a renewed spike in coronavirus cases and deaths. 

It was a slightly brighter picture at The Woodlands Mall in Houston and the Galleria Dallas, where a handful of families, couples and friends were seen taking advantage of the chance to treat themselves to something new. 

Over in Florida, the International Mall in Tampa reopened Wednesday under rules it could operate at a maximum capacity of 25 percent – something that did not look to be a problem as the mall walkways lay sparse of shoppers. 

However, the Yuba Sutter Mall in Yuba City defied Newsom’s orders and became the first mall in California to reopen amid the pandemic

The mall welcomed an influx of shoppers Wednesday, with customers pictured lining up outside stores that were reopening

The mall welcomed an influx of shoppers Wednesday, with customers pictured lining up outside stores that were reopening

A customer shuns a mask and tries on shoes with her dog in the Journeys shoe store in Yuba Sutter mall

A customer shuns a mask and tries on shoes with her dog in the Journeys shoe store in Yuba Sutter mall

A woman has her nails done at the Nail Tech salon in the Yuba Sutter Mall in Yuba City, California

A woman has her nails done at the Nail Tech salon in the Yuba Sutter Mall in Yuba City, California

A group of other people desperate for a manicure lined up outside the Nail Tech salon waiting for their turn

A group of other people desperate for a manicure lined up outside the Nail Tech salon waiting for their turn

In California, the Yuba Sutter Mall in Yuba City defied Newsom’s orders and became the first mall in California to reopen amid the pandemic – despite the state still being under lockdown. 

The mall welcomed an influx of shoppers Wednesday, with customers pictured lining up outside stores that were reopening. 

Around 22 of the 50 retailers opened their doors, with the others staying shut under the executive order. 

One woman was pictured having her nails done at the Nail Tech salon while a group of other people desperate for a manicure lined up outside waiting for their turn.

In a shoe store a woman was pictured with her dog – but without a mask – trying on a new pair of shoes.

The defiance comes as Newsom has been cautious about relaxing the state’s stay-at-home order and some counties have taken matters into their own hands. 

California: Canoga Park Mall continues to be shut as Governor Gavin Newsom has been more cautious about relaxing the state’s stay-at-home order

California: Canoga Park Mall continues to be shut as Governor Gavin Newsom has been more cautious about relaxing the state’s stay-at-home order

The governor announced Monday that stores selling books, clothing, sporting goods, flowers and other retailers can reopen for curbside pickup from Friday as long as they implement social distancing adjustments

The governor announced Monday that stores selling books, clothing, sporting goods, flowers and other retailers can reopen for curbside pickup from Friday as long as they implement social distancing adjustments

The Northridge Fashion Mall is pictured abandoned Wednesday as they continue to be shuttered until at least Friday – when Newsom’s restrictions begin to ease

The Northridge Fashion Mall is pictured abandoned Wednesday as they continue to be shuttered until at least Friday – when Newsom’s restrictions begin to ease

The death toll in California has now reached 2,396 and confirmed coronavirus cases reached 58,924 as of Wednesday

The death toll in California has now reached 2,396 and confirmed coronavirus cases reached 58,924 as of Wednesday 

Newsom has refused to bow to pressure to reopen the state too quickly, as the death toll has now reached 2,396 and confirmed cases 58,924. 

Most malls continue to be closed to shoppers across the state, with both the Northridge Fashion Mall and Canoga Park Mall pictured abandoned Wednesday. 

The governor announced Monday that stores selling books, clothing, sporting goods, flowers and other retailers can reopen for curbside pickup from Friday as long as they implement social distancing adjustments. 

Six counties in the Bay Area, including San Francisco, have extended the shelter-in-place order until mid-May but will allow construction to restart. 

However, three Northern California counties have already reopened in defiance of state orders, after anti-lockdown protesters took to the streets over the last week demanding an end to lockdowns. 

Newsom has slammed the move by the several rural counties ‘a big mistake’ that could set back the progress the state has made in tackling the pandemic.  

Austin: The newly-reopened Domain mall failed to pull in shoppers and was left looking like a ghost town, as some people decided to keep staying stay home

Austin: The newly-reopened Domain mall failed to pull in shoppers and was left looking like a ghost town, as some people decided to keep staying stay home

Dallas: At the Galleria Dallas, a few shoppers were seen returning to the mall as it opened for the first time since March 18

Dallas: At the Galleria Dallas, a few shoppers were seen returning to the mall as it opened for the first time since March 18

Houston: Families, couples and friends were seen taking advantage of the chance to treat themselves to something new in The Woodlands Mall

Houston: Families, couples and friends were seen taking advantage of the chance to treat themselves to something new in The Woodlands Mall

As Californians defy stay-at-home orders, nervous shoppers are staying away from newly-reopened malls in Texas for fear that the lockdown is ending too soon. 

Businesses are returning to a type of normal after the state lifted restrictions at the weekend and allowed malls, stores, movie theaters and restaurants to open up at 25 percent capacity.

Concerns are mounting that the state’s push to reopen is too soon, as infections continue to rise, reaching 33,912 cases and 925 deaths as of Wednesday morning.

This comes as a leaked recording exposed Governor Greg Abbott admitting that reopening Texas amid the coronavirus pandemic will lead to a rise in infections of the deadly virus across the state.

The Domain opened its doors Friday for the first time since the pandemic forced it to shutter on March 18.

But, despite the sunny weather, Texan shoppers looking to take advantage of the chance for some retail therapy at the sprawling open-air shopping center were in short supply.  

Pictures taken Wednesday at the outdoor mall show only a handful of people strolling around – a far cry from the lines of people seen during retail’s busiest seasons of Black Friday and the Christmas holidays.  

The mall’s operator Simon Property Group – the biggest operator across the whole of the US – has become one of the first to return to business as usual, reopening 59 of its locations across the US as of May 5 and with another 18 planned over the course of the next week. 

The Domain, Texas: Closed stores line a sidewalk at the outdoor shopping center in Austin as many stores remain closed despite being able to reopen

The Domain, Texas: Closed stores line a sidewalk at the outdoor shopping center in Austin as many stores remain closed despite being able to reopen

As of Wednesday morning there were 33,912 coronavirus cases and 925 deaths in Texas

As of Wednesday morning there were 33,912 coronavirus cases and 925 deaths in Texas

Customers eat at Glorias, a restaurant at The Domain, an outdoor shopping center in Austin

Customers eat at Glorias, a restaurant at The Domain, an outdoor shopping center in Austin

Austin: The Domain opened its doors Friday for the first time since the pandemic forced it to shutter on March 18

Austin: The Domain opened its doors Friday for the first time since the pandemic forced it to shutter on March 18

Hand sanitizer is available for shoppers: Only a handful of people were seen strolling around outside the front of the mall - a far cry from the lines of people seen during retail's busiest seasons of Black Friday and the Christmas holidays

 Hand sanitizer is available for shoppers: Only a handful of people were seen strolling around outside the front of the mall – a far cry from the lines of people seen during retail’s busiest seasons of Black Friday and the Christmas holidays

Despite the sunny weather, Texan shoppers looking to take advantage of the chance for some retail therapy at the sprawling open-air shopping center were in short supply

Despite the sunny weather, Texan shoppers looking to take advantage of the chance for some retail therapy at the sprawling open-air shopping center were in short supply

The group has introduced a number of measures to keep shoppers and workers safe at its malls.  

Signs reminding shoppers to keep a 6-foot distance were displayed around the mall and sanitization checkpoints have been set up in common areas and restrooms. 

All staff are required to wear masks and have their temperatures checked when they report for work at the mall.  

Certain areas such as play areas and drinking fountains remain closed, while the common areas that have stayed open such as the food court seating and restrooms are being subject to regular cleaning and have been limited so that people can more easily practice social distancing. 

Images of the Domain show some benches in the open air have been taped up to ensure weary shoppers can keep six-feet apart as they take a pit stop during their sprees. 

Signs reminding shoppers to keep a 6-foot distance were displayed around the mall and sanitization checkpoints have been set up in common areas and restrooms

Signs reminding shoppers to keep a 6-foot distance were displayed around the mall and sanitization checkpoints have been set up in common areas and restrooms

Images of the mall show some benches in the open air have been taped up to ensure weary shoppers can keep six-feet apart as they take a pit stop during their sprees

Images of the mall show some benches in the open air have been taped up to ensure weary shoppers can keep six-feet apart as they take a pit stop during their sprees

Certain areas such as play areas and drinking fountains remain closed, while the common areas that have stayed open such as the food court seating and restrooms are being subject to regular cleaning and have been limited

Certain areas such as play areas and drinking fountains remain closed, while the common areas that have stayed open such as the food court seating and restrooms are being subject to regular cleaning and have been limited

The measures have not been enough to draw in the crowds, however, with pictures showing the mall deserted of customers.   

A lone male customer was seen wearing a mask to collect take-out from one of the food outlets, while a woman wearing a mask pointed out the closed off play area as she walked past.   

Hopes that the center’s reopening would spark an influx of shoppers and restore some much-needed business to ailing retailers have fallen flat, with staff reporting depressing scenes inside the stores too.

A worker at Chaser clothing store told Reuters Monday they had served one customer all day.

The measures have not been enough to draw in the crowds, however, with pictures showing the mall deserted of customers. A woman wearing a mask pointed out the closed off play area as she walked past

The measures have not been enough to draw in the crowds, however, with pictures showing the mall deserted of customers. A woman wearing a mask pointed out the closed off play area as she walked past

A lone male customer was seen wearing a mask to collect take-out from one of the food outlets

A lone male customer was seen wearing a mask to collect take-out from one of the food outlets

Hopes that the center's reopening would spark an influx of shoppers and restore some much-needed business to ailing retailers have fallen flat

Hopes that the center’s reopening would spark an influx of shoppers and restore some much-needed business to ailing retailers have fallen flat

‘I’ve seen one customer today – they didn’t buy anything,’ said Taylor Jund. ‘There’s absolutely no one coming around here.’

A visitor said the lack of customers is not surprising.

‘The cases of coronavirus aren’t really going down, so I suspect people aren’t comfortable going to malls or getting back to normal life,’ David Tamayo said while sitting on a shaded bench with his girlfriend at The Domain, where he said they came to relax outdoors. 

Dallas: At another Simon Properties Group mall over in Dallas, more people were seen taking advantage of the chance to return to stores that were not classed as essential under the earlier stay-at-home order

Dallas: At another Simon Properties Group mall over in Dallas, more people were seen taking advantage of the chance to return to stores that were not classed as essential under the earlier stay-at-home order

A family were also seen putting on masks provided to them by the mall - as the facility is handing out the protective wear to shoppers who need them

A family were also seen putting on masks provided to them by the mall – as the facility is handing out the protective wear to shoppers who need them

A worker opens Pandora store up for business: Not all stores have chosen to reopen yet

A worker opens Pandora store up for business: Not all stores have chosen to reopen yet 

At another Simon Properties Group mall over in Dallas, slightly more people were seen taking advantage of the chance to return to stores that had not been classed as essential under the earlier stay-at-home order.

A handful of couples, families and friends were seen browsing the stores in the Galleria Dallas on its reopening day Monday. 

Two young boys were handed masks to put on by security at the mall after they had turned up to shop maskless.

A family were also seen putting on masks provided to them by the mall – as the facility is handing out the protective wear to shoppers who need them. 

Two young boys were handed masks to put on by security at the mall after they had turned up to shop maskless

Two young boys were handed masks to put on by security at the mall after they had turned up to shop maskless

High end fashion brand Louis Vuitton was fairly busy, with a shop assistant seen wearing a mask while welcoming shoppers to the store

High end fashion brand Louis Vuitton was fairly busy, with a shop assistant seen wearing a mask while welcoming shoppers to the store

A sign could be seen in the window of the store reminding shoppers about social distancing - all on-brand with the fashion store's look

A sign could be seen in the window of the store reminding shoppers about social distancing – all on-brand with the fashion store’s look

A handful of couples, families and friends were seen browsing the stores in the Galleria Dallas on its reopening day Monday

A handful of couples, families and friends were seen browsing the stores in the Galleria Dallas on its reopening day Monday

High end fashion brand Louis Vuitton was seen to be fairly busy, with a shop assistant wearing a mask welcoming shoppers to the store. 

A sign could be seen in the window of the store reminding shoppers about social distancing – all on-brand with the fashion store’s look.

As well as pointers to wear a mask and practice social distancing, the sign tells shoppers to ‘ask your client advisor for assistance’ as a reminder that safe practices doesn’t mean an end to good customer service.

The shopping center had said it was taking the weekend to plan for its reopening rather than rush to open its doors as soon as the executive order lifted Friday

The shopping center had said it was taking the weekend to plan for its reopening rather than rush to open its doors as soon as the executive order lifted Friday

A man and child walk through the mall wearing masks. The mall said it will monitor the number of customers coming through its doors via the parking entrance to ensure the mall is in compliance with Governor Abbott's new rules that retailers must operate at 25 percent capacity

A man and child walk through the mall wearing masks. The mall said it will monitor the number of customers coming through its doors via the parking entrance to ensure the mall is in compliance with Governor Abbott’s new rules that retailers must operate at 25 percent capacity

Shoppers wear masks outside Macy's. The mall will also continue with its 'Retail-To-Go' initiative - which many stores have offered during the lockdown

Shoppers wear masks outside Macy’s. The mall will also continue with its ‘Retail-To-Go’ initiative – which many stores have offered during the lockdown

The Retail-To-Go initiative means shoppers can make purchases either online or by phone, and retailers can then deliver the goods to them at a drive up lane that is open daily from noon to 6 pm

The Retail-To-Go initiative means shoppers can make purchases either online or by phone, and retailers can then deliver the goods to them at a drive up lane that is open daily from noon to 6 pm

A worker cleans the hand rails of the escalator in the Galleria Dallas mall on Monday to protect against COVID-19

A worker cleans the hand rails of the escalator in the Galleria Dallas mall on Monday to protect against COVID-19

The shopping center had said it was taking the weekend to plan for its reopening rather than rush to open its doors as soon as the executive order lifted Friday.

It will monitor the number of customers coming through its doors via the parking entrance to ensure the mall is in compliance with Governor Abbott’s new rules that retailers must operate at 25 percent capacity. 

That said, with the sparsity of shoppers – and with some retailers choosing against reopening their stores – this does not seem to be an issue the mall is facing. 

The mall will also continue with its ‘Retail-To-Go’ initiative – which many stores have offered during the lockdown – where shoppers can make purchases either online or by phone, and retailers can then deliver the goods to them at a drive up lane that is open daily from noon to 6 pm.  

Houston: The Woodlands Mall has signs reminding people to social distance. 'Shop smart, stand six stairs apart' the floor to the escalator reads

Houston: The Woodlands Mall has signs reminding people to social distance. ‘Shop smart, stand six stairs apart’ the floor to the escalator reads

Shoppers were seen returning for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic to The Woodlands Mall Tuesday

Shoppers were seen returning for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic to The Woodlands Mall Tuesday

Some shoppers wore masks as they walked through the mall, while for other shoppers - and even some stall attendees in the malls - there was no masks in sight

Some shoppers wore masks as they walked through the mall, while for other shoppers – and even some stall attendees in the malls – there was no masks in sight

Over in Houston, shoppers were also seen returning for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic to The Woodlands Mall Tuesday

Some shoppers wore masks as they walked through the mall, while for other shoppers – and even some stall attendees in the malls – there was no masks in sight.

In Journeys shoe store, a shop assistant was seen helping a young girl pick up some new shoes. 

While the worker sported a face mask, the young customer shunned the measure suggested by the US government to slow the spread of coronavirus and had no covering on her face. 

Stores making sure they comply with the 25 percent capacity rules were seen being taped off after the maximum numbers of occupants were reached.

At one point, manager Natalie Hijazi temporarily closed off the entrance to Pet Fair store and put up a sign saying: ‘Due to the current 25% occupancy limit by Governor’s order, we are limiting the number of entries.’ 

Two women wearing masks as they walked through the mall following its reopening

Two women wearing masks as they walked through the mall following its reopening 

Stores making sure they comply with the 25 percent capacity rules were seen being taped off with signs after the maximum numbers were reached

Stores making sure they comply with the 25 percent capacity rules were seen being taped off with signs after the maximum numbers were reached

Manager Natalie Hijazi temporarily closed off the entrance to Pet Fair store and put up a sign saying: 'Due to the current 25% occupancy limit by Governor's order, we are limiting the number of entries'

Manager Natalie Hijazi temporarily closed off the entrance to Pet Fair store and put up a sign saying: ‘Due to the current 25% occupancy limit by Governor’s order, we are limiting the number of entries’

Governor Abbott announced the reopening of malls at a limited capacity last week as the state looks to return to normal life as soon as possible amid the pandemic.  

Since March 18, malls and shopping streets have been pictured boarded up and deserted due to stay-at-home orders. 

Shopping was limited to essential purchases only, with grocery stores and pharmacies some of the only retailers allowed to keep their doors open. 

Abbott was initially reluctant to allow non-essential businesses to recommence trade until May 18.

However, the governor bowed to public pressure, and will also allow public pools, barbershops, hairdressers and nail salons to re-open from Friday.

It is unclear when bars will be able to re-commence trade.

But Abbott has now been heard admitting that reopening the state will trigger a renewed spike in cases of the deadly disease.

The number of cases of coronavirus in Texas continues to rise as the state reopens

The number of cases of coronavirus in Texas continues to rise as the state reopens

A map of Texas shows the spread of coronavirus across the state. Concerns are mounting that the state's push to reopen is too soon, as infections continue to rise, reaching 33,912 cases and 925 deaths as of Wednesday morning

A map of Texas shows the spread of coronavirus across the state. Concerns are mounting that the state’s push to reopen is too soon, as infections continue to rise, reaching 33,912 cases and 925 deaths as of Wednesday morning

Abbott announced in a media briefing last week that the state would ‘strategically’ allow businesses such as malls, movie theaters and restaurants to run at 25 per cent capacity and said ‘it’s only logical to see there would be an increase in the number of people that test positive’.

But in a Friday call with lawmakers Abbott directly linked the reopening to the spread of COVID-19, while stating that his goal was not to eliminate the disease but only get the number of reported cases reduced.

‘How do we know reopening businesses won’t result in faster spread of more cases of COVID-19?’ Abbott is heard asking in the audio obtained by The Daily Beast.

‘Listen, the fact of the matter is pretty much every scientific and medical report shows that whenever you have a reopening—whether you want to call it a reopening of businesses or of just a reopening of society—in the aftermath of something like this, it actually will lead to an increase and spread. It’s almost ipso facto.’

The authenticity of the conversation, first reported by The Quorum Report, with members of the state legislature and Congress was confirmed by the governor’s spokesperson.

In the recording Abbott goes on to admit that he is not aiming to eradicate the virus in the state and knows that allowing people to gather again will cause the infection rate to spike.

‘The more that you have people out there, the greater the possibility is for transmission,’ Abbott continued. ‘The goal never has been to get transmission down to zero and never can be to keep transmission down to zero. 

Florida: Two men walk through the International Mall in Tampa, Florida, which was back to business on Wednesday as it reopened with new measures aimed to stop the spread of coronavirus among shoppers and staff

Florida: Two men walk through the International Mall in Tampa, Florida, which was back to business on Wednesday as it reopened with new measures aimed to stop the spread of coronavirus among shoppers and staff

Though the mall was eerily quiet in comparison to the pre-pandemic era, a small but steady stream of shoppers arrived on the opening day to take in the chance to browse their favorite stores – something that had become a distant memory

Though the mall was eerily quiet in comparison to the pre-pandemic era, a small but steady stream of shoppers arrived on the opening day to take in the chance to browse their favorite stores – something that had become a distant memory

Most shoppers wore protective face masks as they were pictured strolling through the mall

Most shoppers wore protective face masks as they were pictured strolling through the mall

Over in Florida, the International Mall in Tampa was back to business on Wednesday as Governor Ron DeSantis also allowed malls and stalls to reopen at 25 percent capacity. 

Though the mall was eerily quiet in comparison to the pre-pandemic era, a small but steady stream of shoppers arrived on the opening day to take in the chance to browse their favorite stores – something that had become a distant memory.

Most shoppers wore protective face masks as they were pictured strolling through the mall.

Certain stores seemed to draw in bigger crowds than others with around eight people – some in masks and some without – seen congregated outside the Disney store.

Certain stores seemed to draw in bigger crowds than others with around eight people – some in masks and some without - seen congregated outside the Disney store

Certain stores seemed to draw in bigger crowds than others with around eight people – some in masks and some without – seen congregated outside the Disney store

A sign displayed on sportswear brand Lululemon read: ‘We’re closed. Our teams are making sure that we’re fit to open when the time is right' as it continues to stay shut until further notice

A sign displayed on sportswear brand Lululemon read: ‘We’re closed. Our teams are making sure that we’re fit to open when the time is right’ as it continues to stay shut until further notice

The mall’s Apple store and J Crew store also had signs saying they are staying closed indefinitely

The mall’s Apple store and J Crew store also had signs saying they are staying closed indefinitely

A man goes for a stroll through the mall. Despite the lifting of the state's restrictions, just 20 percent of stores reopened that morning

A man goes for a stroll through the mall. Despite the lifting of the state’s restrictions, just 20 percent of stores reopened that morning

One shopper told Fox 13 they just wanted a trip out – rather than needing to buy something.

‘Actually we just came in to walk, to see if everything was open,’ said Valerie Flavors.

But despite the lifting of the state’s restrictions, just 20 percent of stores reopened that morning.

Many stores kept their doors closed, amid fears that reopening businesses too soon will spark an uplift in new cases of coronavirus. 

Many stores kept their doors closed, amid fears that reopening businesses too soon will spark an uplift in new cases of coronavirus, including J Crew above

Many stores kept their doors closed, amid fears that reopening businesses too soon will spark an uplift in new cases of coronavirus, including J Crew above 

More stores in the mall are expected to open later in the week and others offer a delivery-only service to shoppers’ cars

More stores in the mall are expected to open later in the week and others offer a delivery-only service to shoppers’ cars

The International Mall has taken a number of steps to create a safer environment for staff and shoppers, including social distancing signs

The International Mall has taken a number of steps to create a safer environment for staff and shoppers, including social distancing signs

A sign displayed on sportswear brand Lululemon read: ‘We’re closed. Our teams are making sure that we’re fit to open when the time is right.’

The mall’s Apple store and J Crew store also had signs saying they are staying closed indefinitely.

More stores in the mall are expected to open later in the week and others offer a delivery-only service to shoppers’ cars.

The International Mall has taken a number of steps to create a safer environment for staff and shoppers. 

Signs were seen reminding people to social distance while a mall worker was pictured sticking a social distancing sticker on the floor.

Outside luxury jeweller Tiffany & Co. a worker was seen wearing a visor, protective gloves and a mask while wiping down the railings.

The mall management said when the center reaches the maximum capacity of 25 percent under the state’s rules, it will close its doors to new shoppers.

A mall worker was pictured sticking a social distancing sticker on the floor at the International Mall

A mall worker was pictured sticking a social distancing sticker on the floor at the International Mall

Several shoppers are seen walking outside the stores without masks. The mall management said when the center reaches the maximum capacity of 25 percent under the state’s rules, it will close its doors to new shoppers

Several shoppers are seen walking outside the stores without masks. The mall management said when the center reaches the maximum capacity of 25 percent under the state’s rules, it will close its doors to new shoppers

Outside luxury jeweller Tiffany & Co. a worker was seen wearing a visor, protective gloves and a mask while wiping down the railings

Outside luxury jeweller Tiffany & Co. a worker was seen wearing a visor, protective gloves and a mask while wiping down the railings

Florida lifted most of its coronavirus restrictions Monday, including allowing retailers and restaurants across much of the state to open their doors at a 25 percent capacity.

But there are varying restrictions in place across the state, meaning South Florida and Miami shopping malls still have to keep their doors shut.

As well as malls, Florida also relaxed rules along its beaches from Monday as part of the state’s phased reopening.

Cafes along the beach also reopened with eateries allowed to resume dine-in services if they have outdoor seating and can ensure social distancing.

Medical practices can also resume elective surgeries and procedures while movie theaters, bars and fitness clubs will remain closed for now.

Governor Rick DeSantis has left existing restrictions in place across Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties – the three most highly populated in the state.

DeSantis had drawn criticism for waiting until April 2 to clamp down on commerce, after most other states had already done so.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Florida had 38,002 confirmed cases and 1,539 deaths from coronavirus. 

As shoppers across some states have started to take advantage of the chance to snap up their favorite brands once more this week, the scenes inside and outside the malls give a mixed picture of how residents feel about relaxed lockdown rules.

Texas and other southern states are leading the way in letting stay-at-home orders expire and getting economies back up and running, despite repeated warnings from medical experts if they reopen too soon.

Armed protesters have been marching on capitol buildings to demand an end to lockdowns, saying it has taken away their liberty and that businesses and jobs have been damaged beyond repair. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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