Katy Mills opens along with other Houston-area Simon properties

Sales tax production engine begins to restart

R. Hans Miller | Times Senior Reporter
Posted 5/1/20

Simon Property Group, L.P. has announced that Katy Mills has reopened after being shut down for weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Katy mall as well as The Galleria and Houston Premium Outlets …

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Katy Mills opens along with other Houston-area Simon properties

Sales tax production engine begins to restart

Posted

Simon Property Group, L.P. has announced that Katy Mills has reopened after being shut down for weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Katy mall as well as The Galleria and Houston Premium Outlets reopened at 11 a.m. today with limited capacity under Tex. Governor Greg Abbott’s executive order which went into effect at midnight last night.

"The health, safety and well-being of those we serve will always be our highest priority, and we have developed a thorough and detailed set of protocols highlighting the exceptional measures we’ve implemented to safeguard shoppers, retailers and employees as we reopen,” said Simon President John Rulli.

Katy Mills is one of the primary sources of sales tax revenue for the city of Katy and has been referred to by city administration as a “sales tax engine.” According to the city’s current year budget, sales tax accounts for about $15.2 million of the city’s overall $31.6 million in revenues for the 2019-2020 budget year.

The city has had to reject bids for improvements to the parking lots in front of the Katy Police Department, Municipal Courts Building and Katy Library due to concerns over reduction in revenues that the city cannot predict.

“We’re going to try to keep as much money as we can right now in our general fund to see where that sales tax number is going to go,” City Administrator Byron Hebert said at the April 13 Katy City Council meeting. “So right now, we’re asking that (Katy City Council members) would postpone on this. Reject (the bids we’ve received) now and when we come out of this we’ll put these projects back up.”

The mall will be open Monday through Saturday of each week from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sundays from 12-6 p.m. according to a City of Katy announcement.

“Please be advised that the mall's occupancy must be limited to 25%, and food-court dining areas, play areas and interactive displays and setting will remain closed,” the city’s announcement said.

Not all stores have reopened, though Simon’s announcement said additional protocols were in place to keep shoppers and staff safe, including:

  • Enhanced sanitization and disinfecting using the Centers for Disease Control and prevention approved products with an emphasis on high-traffic locations such as dining areas, restrooms, escalators, stairs, directories, trash bins and door knobs.
  • Shopper safeguards that include making available protective masks, sanitizing wipes and temperature testing at entrances or property offices, as well as the encouragement of pre-visit health screenings to ensure shoppers stay home if they have exhibited COVID-19 or flu-like symptoms within 72 hours. 
  • Hand sanitizing stations will be deployed throughout the properties.
  • Signage promoting CDC guidelines for maintaining personal hygiene will be prominently displayed throughout the properties.
  • Pre-emptive employee health screening to ensure that employees do not arrive at work within 72 hours of exhibiting COVID-19 or flu-like symptoms.
  • Employee safety protections including implementing the CDC’s COVID-19 frequent hand-washing protocols, and offering personal protective equipment in addition to other CDC recommended practices.
  • Promotion and enforcement of social distancing practices, including occupancy limitations, furniture and restroom spacing, closure of play areas and strollers, as well as coordinated traffic flow with traffic signage and distance markers.

“Our properties are an integral part of our communities; not only in terms of shopping, dining and entertainment, but also job creation, small business growth and community support,” Rulli said. “We look forward to once again serving the needs of our communities, and do so in a safe and responsible manner.”

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