South Coast Plaza in Orange County reopens months after coronavirus closure

More than half of the stores and restaurants are back open today. The other half should be open by the end of the month.
COSTA MESA, Calif. (KABC) -- South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa reopened Thursday after being closed for three months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"I've been waiting for this day. Just ecstatic," said Newport Beach resident Sara Rasic, who came to get a latte and stop by some of her favorite spots. "I'm like oh my God, I had to take a picture and send it to my girlfriends and then now I'm gonna do a couple of returns and then go wait in the line at Zara."

Costa Mesa resident Nohemi Vicuna took the day off of work just be able to be here.

"This is like the place you go to after work just to kind of relax, unwind, just walk around, see things. What's new, get a cup of coffee, and just walk," said Vicuna.

The luxury shopping center is taking extensive health and safety protocols like one way corridors, hand sanitizer stations, a mask requirement and of course physical distancing.

"If there's too much gathering or it seems like we're getting to many people, we have systems in place to abate that. And our retailers all have their own protocol in terms of number of people in the stores," said spokeswoman Debra Gunn Downing.

The shopping center also invested in clean air.

"We've never had cleaner air. We have new air handling systems. State of the art with fresh air coming in," said Downing.

The reopening was supposed to happen a week and a half ago, but due to unrest across the country, they postponed it. For many shoppers, it was worth the wait.

"Oh I'm so happy. I've been waiting. Actually I was expecting them to open last week, and I called and called everyday, cause I have a bag that I have to pick up since February," said Whittier resident Cheryl Broas.

"I've been missing this. I've been missing smelling the perfume and trying stuff on and just buying some clothing. Something that you miss doing. Going up and down the escalator," laughed Vicuna.

More than half of the stores and restaurants are back open today. The other half should be open by the end of the month.

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