After Gov. Gary Herbert announced some nonessential businesses would be opening their doors under strict guidelines on May 1, life began to return to malls and outlet stores around Provo and Orem.

Before Herbert issued the Re-Opening Phased Plan for Utah, the Provo Towne Centre and University Place in Orem were already working to develop plans to safely welcome consumers back to each location.

While University Place did not formally close its doors, the Provo Towne Centre opened after May 1, welcoming patrons beginning on May 4.

Provo Towne Centre General Manager Scott Bowles said much of the preparation relied on the state’s “Phased Guidelines for the General Public and Businesses to Maximize Public Health and Economic Reactivation.”

With the reopenings, however, all is not back to normal.

Provo Towne Centre is working with tenants to maintain social distancing standards, offer sanitization stations at mall entrances, produce signs that guide guests throughout the property for a safer shopping experience, and reduce seating in common areas and food courts, Bowles said.

The mall is also implementing standards for high touchpoint locations, such as the children’s play areas, at the Provo Towne Centre, although these standards are temporary.

For retailers, things may never return to normal, Bowles said, which is why the Provo Towne Centre also is working to develop protocols that help stores housed within the property adjust to the “next normal” established with current COVID-19 recommendations and looking forward to post COVID-19.

Additionally, Bowles said he is expecting retailers to experience an increase in certain services. Reopening the Provo Towne Centre location also helps retail stores by encouraging consumers to purchase merchandise from tenants through curbside services or in-person while maintaining social distancing requirements and sanitization protocols throughout the remainder of the year.

While tenants should see some benefit from the reopening of the Provo Towne Centre, Bowles said the property’s main concern is its patrons.

“A safe environment for shoppers and retailers is our No. 1 priority,” he said.

Nonessential businesses have been given the “go ahead” to reintroduce their services to customers under strict guidelines, and Bowles said the Provo Towne Centre is monitoring guidelines from local and national authorities to ensure shoppers and employees are following established protocols.

In the meantime, the mall is maintaining its in-depth cleaning routines as well as keeping certain high-traffic areas closed to help encourage social distancing, such as children’s play areas.

“As recommended by Gov. Herbert, all patrons entering the building are encouraged to wear face masks, and we are urging anyone who feels ill to stay home,” Bowles said. “We encourage people to be good citizens and adhere to proper hygiene and social distancing protocols so we can help flatten the curve together.”

Provo Towne Centre is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

Dozens of stores and restaurants have already opened, including True North Axe Throwing, Eborn Books, The Coffee Shop and Good Grindz. Other locations, such as Winger’s Grill and GameStop, have made special accommodations to allow for to-go orders or online ordering with pick-up options at the door. A full list of open locations can be found online and is updated daily.

University Place in Orem is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and is closed on Sunday.

Like the Provo Towne Centre several locations are open, such as Deseret Book, Down East Basics and Visionworks. Special locations, including Style 10, Re-Cell, Pro Nails Spa, Mr. Mac, RC Willey, Camera Shy and Brow Spa 24, are only allowing patrons to enter who have appointments. Al’s Sporting Goods is limiting the number of people allowed inside the store to 50.

All University Place food stores are limiting services to takeout only, except for Osaka Japan, Cold Stone and Cinnabon, which are open until the mall closes.

A list of open retailers within University Place also can be found online.