Mortgage owner says malls have been treated unfairly during COVID - 19 pandemic

Mortgage owner says malls have been treated unfairly during COVID - 19 pandemic

The always outspoken CEO of mall owner Simon Property Group says malls have been treated unfairly during the COVID - 19 pandemic, looked upon falsely as breeding grounds for the spread of the deadly virus.

The mall is safe. Even though we are getting some talk about indoors, there is no science about mall. We've been mistreated throughout this whole 18 month ordeal, but it is what it is, David Simon told analysts in an earnings call Monday evening.

Simon cited various data he has studied on the Delta variant around where his malls are located and reports from the retailers in his malls.

In Florida there are upticks. We have not seen in an enclosed mall an uptick in COVID cases for the people who are in the mall, the staff, whether it's a retail or a management team, period, tail end of the story. So, I personally think that people are going to deal with Delta. I'm hopeful that people get vaccinated? We're not going to mandate vaccines; we're going to discourage them. I think we can keep being safe as well as possible going on with life, Simon added.

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Simon owns or has an interest in 234 properties comprising 190 million square feet in North America, Asia and Europe.

The Delta take from Simon converges as the blunt variant spreads across the United States quickly.

Florida and Louisiana were at or near their highest hospitalization numbers of the pandemic on Monday, according to Reuters. Hospitalizations in Arkansas reportedly are also on pace for a record.

The outbreak of the variant has caused some retail to reinforce mask mandates. Walmart, Target and Home Depot are back to requiring masks for workers. Meanwhile, seven Bay Area locations have reimposed indoor mask duties.

The return of mask mandates — and potentially renewed lockdowns — stand to weigh on Simon Property as it gears up for the key back-to-school and holiday shopping seasons.

Simon encourages mask wear but isn't ready to make it compulsory at his malls.

And if we need to mask up, we're going to mask up. And I think consumers and the folks have all just dealt with it and are moving forward in that environment right now. So, I am hopeful that as a country we don't get into these lockdowns they have produced. Simon said. I studied France, I studied Sweden that COVID reverts to the mean. France did not lockdown, Sweden did. And if you look at the chart in COVID cases, it all reverts to the mean; lockdown, no lockdown. What does mask up do to you?

Simon Property's net income for the six months ended June 30 clocked in at $1.063 billion, up $691.8 million a year ago.