Following Gov. Ron DeSantis’ directive allowing some non-essential businesses to reopen to the public, Mercato, an open-air lifestyle shopping center in Collier County, announced many retailers will re-open for business beginning Monday, May 4. While the center will resume its normal hours of operation – Monday – Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 6 p.m., each of the center’s retailers will individually determine their reopening dates and hours; for a regularly updated list of open retailers, including many still offering virtual shopping, shipping and curbside pickup, visit http://ow.ly/vpu630qC8d8.
While Mercato will be open for in-person shopping and dining, many of the center’s restaurants will continue to provide curbside or delivery services as well; for a list of restaurants providing these services, visit http://ow.ly/C8HP30qC8ea. Mercato will also continue several virtual programs, such as the Tunes for Tomorrow concert series, to help shoppers acclimate to the center’s re-opening and their return to public life. Plans are also in the works for a re-launch of the center’s popular monthly music and outdoor movie series, to be hosted with new safety precautions and social distancing measures when state and local authorities believe it is safe to do so.
“At Mercato, we are fortunate that Governor DeSantis has given us the green light for our retailers to re-open for business and reconnect with our shoppers,” says Bill Coleman, general manager of Mercato and vice president of Management Services for Madison Marquette, the real estate investor, developer and service provider that operates the center. “We know people are anxious to get back to life as we knew it before COVID-19, and we have a number of programs and engagements planned to help our guests do exactly that.”
“We also want everyone to know that we have taken significant precautions to safeguard the health of our visitors and employees, which is, of course, our No. 1 priority as our stores and restaurants re-open for business,” says Valerie Cope, senior marketing director, Madison Marquette. “We have an entire task force of people who have worked diligently around the clock, taking into account the best practices recommended by national experts like the CDC as well as our state and local healthcare officials to determine the appropriate steps to make this shopping center a place where guests feel comfortable venturing back into public and reconnecting with friends and family.”
Updated Policies & Procedures
Relying on the expertise of local healthcare and government authorities, Mercato has implemented a number of important policies and procedures to safeguard the health and well-being of its valued shoppers and employees, including:
- Adding New Signage: Signage throughout the property will remind visitors of the importance of continuing to practice social distancing, staying a minimum of six feet from others while they shop and eat.
- Deepening Disinfection Procedures: The center has instituted an increased schedule for the frequent cleaning and disinfection of high-touch common areas, including benches and other seating areas, door handles, handrails, restrooms, elevators, escalators and more.
- Re-Positioning Common-Area Seating: Couches, chairs and Adirondacks will be repositioned six feet from one another. Since soft surfaces and fabric are difficult to disinfect, cushions will not be used at this time to allow the maintenance team to thoroughly care for all common area furnishings.
These and other policies and procedures have been implemented throughout the common areas of the shopping center. Individual retailers and restaurants are responsible for implementing their own policies and procedures, but have been asked to follow similarly stringent protocols to ensure the safety of each guest and employee.
New Programs & Promotions
To help shoppers celebrate the end of self-isolation, Mercato has launched a number of new programs, including:
- Take-Out on the Lawn: As Mercato re-opens for business, shopping center visitors are invited to enjoy their take-out meals on the center’s event lawn, appreciating Florida’s beautiful weather while spreading out to observe health authority guidelines requiring fewer than 10 people per group and at least six feet of social distancing. Guests are encouraged to bring their own chairs or blankets.
- Tunes for Tomorrow: The center’s free Tunes for Tomorrow virtual concert series will continue with both live and taped performances on the center’s Facebook page.
- Wild Things Virtual Circus: A free all-female virtual circus featuring three aerialists, a hoop artist, a fire dancer, a contortionist and a Cyr wheel artist, continues to be available for guests to watch via the center’s Facebook page.
- Mother’s Day at Mercato: To help guests deliver something special for mom on Mother’s Day, Mercato will be offering two free-to-use Instagram filters, a number of virtual activities, and a digital Mother’s Day gift guide all available online; watch the center’s Events page on Facebook for details, coming soon. Several restaurants are also offering Mother’s Day brunch and meal selections with both takeout and dine-in options.
- Upcoming Events: For a list of other upcoming events – both live and virtual – please visit the “Event Calendar” on Mercato’s Facebook page or on the center’s website at https://www.mercatoshops.com/events/.