Press "Enter" to skip to content

South Coast Plaza, the same but not the same, reopens after coronavirus shutdown

In what feels like another era, Kenya Roberts bought a gift at the Louis Vuitton in South Coast Plaza.

By the time her sister opened the present a week later, California had gone on lockdown to combat the spread of coronavirus. The trinket wasn’t quite to her liking, but an exchange would have to wait.



Roberts would finally get the chance Thursday, June 11, to select something else for her sis. On the morning of South Coast’s understated grand reopening, she stood in a line with two dozen others waiting for a turn inside the swank boutique.

“I feel like I’m in a dream – seeing the world as it was, but then again not, before all this happened,” said Roberts, who lives in Chino and works as a waitress. “There were all those little things we took for granted, like not having to wear face masks. I wish we could click our heels and go back.”

Indeed, Costa Mesa’s high-end shopping center looked the same yet also quite different.

Arrows plastered along passageways directed visitors to walk six feet apart from one another. Hand sanitizer dispensers were stationed throughout. With the exception of that surprising line outside Louis Vuitton, stores were sparsely populated. A jazz quartet’s enchanting music sounded almost melancholy, given the hard times.

And then there were those masks – an entrance requirement.

Paper face coverings are now distributed to those who forget their own. With drinking fountains turned off, customers are offered bottled water. They also can nab packets of hand sanitizer. A restroom attendant disinfects after each use.

It’s the price of doing business in the new normal.

Salvatore Ferragamo‎ manager Dustin Brons-Trust awaited customers inside his freshly sanitized store. In a quick tour, he pointed out changes made to keep visitors and employees safe.

“We have hand sanitizer at every touch point,” Brons-Trust explained. “For one less touch point, we removed the caps from sample bottles of fragrance. There will be only one customer at a time per sales team member. We have pushed out our seating for social distancing. Customers will put on a new pair of hosiery each time they try on shoes.”

Despite the new challenges, Brons-Trust said, “We are super-excited to reopen and to give our customers the same luxury experience.”

Linda Lu negotiated the aisles of Macy’s department store, where staff wore matching black masks.

“I’m just window shopping today – I’m not touching anything yet,” said the Santa Ana resident. “I’m a furloughed ultrasound tech, so I’ve been cooped up at home for three months. It feels great to get out.”

A clique of four Laguna Beach High boys celebrated their last day of school. “We’re here for the designer sales,” asserted Keanu Morris, 17, as his buddies teased him about his fashion sense.

“It’s weird to be here,” Morris said. “Everything is so weird now.”

Source: Orange County Register

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *