Parking, no problem: WTOP goes shopping at reopened Northern Virginia mall

Northern Virginia joined the rest of the state Friday in Phase One of reopening with restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and that included local shopping malls.

Under the first phase of Gov. Ralph Northam’s recovery plan, retailers can welcome more customers into their stores — from a 10-person limit up to 50% capacity. Restaurants can reopen outdoor seating to patrons at 50% capacity.

Around noon Friday, WTOP took a trip to Fair Oaks Mall, in Fairfax, to see if shoppers were ready to come back to the mall, and whether stores and restaurants were ready to welcome them.


Fair Oaks Mall is open for business, with reminders to shoppers to wear masks and keep at least 6 feet apart.

On Friday, about half of the stores at Fair Oaks Mall had reopened — some were still preparing to be able to facilitate current requirements related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some shoppers were glad to be back in the mall, but volume seemed light during WTOP’s trip to Fair Oaks Mall.

Cleaning crews circulated through Fair Oaks Mall, maintaining sanitary conditions as shoppers returned to indoor malls and Northern Virginia entered Phase One of the state’s pandemic reopening plan.

Children expecting to run around Fair Oaks Mall’s indoor playground will be disappointed to see it is closed, and has been reconfigured with distanced benches.

Some stores in Fair Oaks Mall were still closed Friday, but had signs promising they would be open to customers in the near future.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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