Promenade Shops Begin Reopening, But Movie Theater’s Fate in Doubt

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Promenade Shops

The Promenade Shops at Saucon Valley began to reopen Friday, after a two-and-a-half month shutdown of most businesses brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.

With the Lehigh Valley’s transition from the red phase of Pennsylvania’s coronavirus reopening to yellow, retail and restaurants in the Promenade Shops at Saucon Valley began to come out of a two-and-a-half month hibernation Friday.

Outdoor dining at tables spread apart to allow for social distancing is now permitted at the Upper Saucon Township lifestyle center’s various eateries, which since late March had only been permitted to sell food for takeout or curbside pickup. Many local restaurants have either created or expanded outdoor dining areas in response to the new rules.

Promenade Shops

Patrons at Red Robin in the Promenade Shops sit at tables spread out from each other in the restaurant’s outside dining area. Social distancing “al fresco” is part of a new normal as Pennsylvania enters the post-coronavirus era. Servers and other restaurant staff are required to wear masks, as are customers if they enter a restaurant to use a restroom or for other reasons.

Other stores also reopened although some are now operating by appointment only, and all retailers must limit the number of customers that are permitted inside their establishments as well as follow other health and safety precautions.

Unfortunately, it’s unclear if one of the most popular businesses in the outdoor shopping complex–the AMC Theatres-owned Promenade 16 cineplex–will reopen at all.

It was reported by CNBC earlier this week that AMC said it has “substantial doubt” it can remain in business as a result of the coronavirus shutdown, with major delays in the release of new films predicted to add to the company’s financial woes.

Promenade Shops

Movies haven’t been shown in the Promenade 16 multiplex since late March. Following an announcement by owner AMC Theatres earlier this week that it may go out of business as a result of financial losses from the coronavirus pandemic, it is unclear when–or if–movies will be shown there again. The complex was previously owned by Rave and Carmike cinemas.

 

There was no reference to AMC’s problems in a news release put out by the Promenade Shops to promote the reopening that began Friday.

“The Promenade is committed to the well-being of its shoppers, retailers and communities we serve,” it said.

In addition to following both CDC and World Health Organization protocols, the Promenade Shops said its cleaning staff are continuing to work “diligently” on sanitizing and disinfecting throughout the day. In addition to common areas, surfaces with frequent guest contact are prioritized.

“Additionally, temporary curbside pick-up zones have been designated throughout the center for shopper convenience, as well as extensions of patio space for restaurant use,” the news release noted.

Promenade Shops

A sign outside a business in the Promenade Shops at Saucon Valley marks a parking space designated for curbside pickup.

Restaurants are continuing to offer curbside pickup and delivery services.

During the yellow phase of Gov. Tom Wolf’s executive order, the Promenade Shops are operating under modified business hours of Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., although some retailers and restaurants may have other hours of operation. For additional information about the reopening, visit ThePromenadeShopsatSauconValley.com.

The yellow phase of the reopening is the second of three phases, and it is unclear how long Lehigh and Northampton counties will be yellow before going green.

Due to having high COVID-19 case counts and other factors, the counties were among the last to move from red to yellow under the governor’s reopening plan.

Wolf on Friday announced that 12 counties that are currently in the yellow phase will move to the green phase on June 12. Among them is Carbon County, which has reported relatively few cases of the potentially fatal disease.

The other counties that will move to the green phase next week are Adams, Beaver, Columbia, Cumberland, Juniata, Mifflin, Northumberland, Union, Wayne, Wyoming and York.

Promenade Shops

As a grocery store, The Fresh Market was classified a life-sustaining business by the state. It was one of the only businesses in the Promenade Shops which has remained fully operational throughout the coronavirus pandemic and state-mandated business shutdown. Many rules are still in place to help prevent the spread of the disease inside businesses like supermarkets. Customers are required to wear face masks when shopping, for example, and without a vaccine for COVID-19 it is unclear when that and other requirements will be lifted by the state.

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