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From malls to main streets, shops reopen

Stores started reopening Monday to foot traffic for the first time in two months.

ANOKA, Minnesota — On Monday morning, Tricia Knudsen was getting ready to reopen The White Owl in Anoka to foot traffic. 

"Everybody is so ready. I mean shopping therapy, you know. You gotta have some," Knudsen said. 

But there have been a lot of changes since the beginning of the year. 

The White Owl (formerly Paddywac's) underwent remodeling for two months. Then, less than two days after reopening, came the governor's Stay at Home order. 

Now the home comforts & boutique store is finally reopening but with safety precautions in place. Masks are required to enter the store and social distancing will be enforced. 

"It's kind of tight quarters. So just to be comfortable and to make sure that we know what's going on in our store, we're only going to let in 10 people at a time," Knudsen said. "I'm kind of feeling like I'm having to be a little bit of a police person here but I think it's for the safety of everybody and I want everybody to feel safe coming into the store." 

Knudsen said downtown Anoka's main street shops have banded together to help keep shoppers safe. 

A few customers were in Jenson's Department Store on Monday morning.  

"Obviously we're wiping everything down. We have two pen buckets ... one that's used, one that's not. We have lots of wipes, lots of everything," said Celia Cook, an employee at Jenson's I. Appeal. 

Employee Abby Johnson, also with Jenson's I. Appeal, added, "Trying to keep that distance, wearing our mask as well, just because we do really love our people and that they come in and support us during this time." 

The governor's easing of restrictions also meant that many malls reopened. 

At Rosedale Center in Roseville, 25 of its more than 200 stores reopened Monday. More stores are expected to reopen each day. 

The mall has reduced hours, closed certain amenities and they're requesting that shoppers wear masks. Rosedale Center has only reopened Entrance B (between Caribou and Talbots). Sarah Fossen, director of marketing at Rosedale Center, said they decided to limit it to one entrance so it's easier to monitor people coming in and out in order to stay below the 50% capacity requirement. 

RELATED: Rosedale, Ridgedale Malls reopening Monday

On Monday afternoon, the Entrance B parking lot was filled, but inside there was plenty of space for social distancing. Each individual store has its own set of safety protocols. 

"We're excited but also it takes a lot of preparation and the stakes are high, it's people's health. So every single store that we've talked to is taking this very seriously," Fossen said. 

Fossen recommends checking with stores ahead of time to make sure they're open. 

RELATED: Mall of America to reopen on June 1

Scott Renteria of Forest Lake stopped by the mall on Monday and said, "It feels fine to me. I think it's important that people are practicing their social distancing and doing things to be courteous and respectful of other people. But I think it's important that people are getting back to work and we're kind of coming back together as a community and kind of moving forward together."

While stores are allowed to reopen, not everyone is choosing to do so at this time. For example, Mall of America plans to reopen on June 1. 

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The state of Minnesota has set up a hotline for general questions about coronavirus at 651-201-3920 or 1-800-657-3903, available 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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