The indoor portions of New Jersey malls will be able to reopen as of Monday, June 29, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Thursday.

Shoppers and mall staff will be required to wear masks, unless medically unfeasible. All stores will be limited to 50% capacity and social distancing among shoppers will be encouraged.

It's the first time since March that the malls will be open, when they shut down along with any retail deemed non-essential under executive orders from Murphy intended to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. In recent weeks, Murphy has allowed freestanding retail stores to open, at limited capacity.

Since June 15, stores with their own exterior entrances, including mall anchor stores and open-air outlet shopping centers, have been allowed to reopen for in-person shopping, with the same protocols in place.

Last month, malls began offering curbside pickup for shoppers, as the pandemic started easing in NJ. State officials have been watching hospitalizations, daily deaths and signs of spread dropping off for several weeks.

Mall restaurants still are limited to providing take-out or outdoor dining, as food court seating and common seating areas remain closed. New Jersey has recently allowed restaurants to resume outdoor dining, but not indoor dining, at any locatoin.

Despite malls reopening, movie theaters and arcades will remain closed at this time, Murphy said.

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