Pier Park to remain closed, despite other Simon Properties set to reopen

Many Simon Properties are reopening across the country but Pier Park is not one of them....
Many Simon Properties are reopening across the country but Pier Park is not one of them. (WJHG/WECP)(WJHG)
Published: Apr. 29, 2020 at 12:56 AM CDT
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Many states are looking to ease restrictions during the coronavirus outbreak and while several places in our area are planning to reopen, Pier Park will remain closed, for now.

However, essential businesses within the retail center, like restaurants, are allowed to remain open for takeout, but not all have chosen to do so.

A lot has changed since the coronavirus outbreak began, especially for local businesses at Pier Park.

Great White Pizza Owner, James Sickler said he closed down the restaurant for 30 days and furloughed all his employees due to the pandemic. Last week, he and his wife reopened to serve as many customers as they can just to make ends meet.

“We don’t have enough business to actually really have any employees at this moment. We’ve brought our children up here to the shop and we teach them their schoolwork during the day then at night they watch movies,” Sickler said.

Other businesses in Pier Park like Angry Tuna Seafood Company have shut down completely to prevent the spread of the virus.

“It’s almost exactly like the hurricane. All my employees aren’t working, they’re not making any money. They’re calling me all the time. Our doors have been closed. We haven’t been able to open or do take out,” Angry Tuna Seafood Company Owner, Tim Jacobi said.

Simon Property Group, the largest us mall owner, is planning to reopen 49 malls and outlets next month, but Pier Park is not one of them.

Pier Park General Manager, Chris Tilley said many of the locations set to reopen are in states where some restrictions are being lifted.

Tilley said they’re waiting on the governor’s response before they move forward and many store owners believe it’s the right call.

“We have a lot of unanswered questions. How is it going to be on the beach? Are we gonna be able to reopen? When will you be able to reopen? Will we be safe? The main thing we want to make sure is that our people are safe,” Jacobi said.

“I’m torn. I’d really like to be in full operation, but I also understand that we as a community need to work together and make sure we don’t continue to spread,” Sickler said.

None of the malls or outlets in Florida owned by Simon Property are on the list to reopen in May.

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