Washington, D.C. — In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Peterson Cos. has unveiled its plans for welcoming back tenants and customers, once permitted to do so. Peterson owns and operates open-air, mixed-use and power center properties. The company will implement the plan across several of its properties, including at National Harbor, Downtown Silver Spring, Rio in Gaithersburg, Fairfax Corner and Fair Lakes.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam says he wants to slowly begin reopening retail businesses in the state, but he will allow northern Virginia to move at its own pace given the elevated number of COVID-19 cases in the region. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan allowed the reopenings of parks and public spaces last week, but has not yet released guidelines on retail businesses. Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser also released guidelines for residents to participate in outdoor activities but not retail-specific guidelines.
Some of the new operations that the shopping centers will implement include hand sanitizing stations located throughout centers, especially in high-traffic, high-touch areas such as elevator lobbies, breezeways, restrooms, outdoor plazas and gathering areas; social distancing signage will remind customers and employees to stay six feet apart; curbside pickup areas will remain throughout the properties and will be identified clearly; Peterson employees and third-party contractors will wear face coverings and gloves whenever they are onsite; all employees will be asked to personally monitor their health and temperature daily; onsite security teams will be trained to monitor safe distancing and codes of conduct; and all outdoor common seating will be spread out, wherever possible.
Peterson has also developed a marketing plan to help support tenants ramping back up, including an enhanced advertising plan with targeted digital ads, gift card giveaways, gifts with purchases and other promotions.