Mall St. Matthews, Oxmoor Center announce temporary policy changes
Mall St. Matthews and Oxmoor Center announced major -- but temporary -- policy changes on Wednesday.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Mall St. Matthews and Oxmoor Center announced major -- but temporary -- policy changes in the wake of "disturbances" that took place last week.
According to a news release, the malls will temporarily place restrictions on the times when juveniles can be at the malls unsupervised.
"Mall St. Matthews and Oxmoor Center today announced they will each launch a temporary Parental Guidance Required ("PGR") program," the news release stated. "The PGR program is aimed at providing a comfortable, family-friendly shopping experience for all mall guests. Beginning Saturday, January 2, the PGR program will require that, after 4 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, all mall visitors age 17 and under must be accompanied by a parent or supervising adult who is at least 21 years old. The PGR program will be strictly and uniformly enforced on all mall property, including the parking lot and all exterior sidewalks."
The news release continues:
"During PGR hours, trained public safety officers stationed at all mall entrances will check IDs of all patrons who appear to be 17 and under. Those who cannot provide a valid photo ID showing they are at least 18 years old must be accompanied by a parent or supervising adult who is at least 21 years old in order to remain at the mall. One adult may accompany up to four youths and all accompanied youth must remain with the supervising adult at all times. Those who provide proper identification demonstrating they are at least 18 will be offered an optional wristband. Individuals who choose not to wear the wristband may be asked for ID again by public safety officers patrolling inside the malls. Valid identification includes a state issued driver’s license or ID card, a military ID, a school ID card, or a passport. The identification must be tamper proof and include a photograph and date of birth.
Announcements will be made inside the malls starting at 3 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, giving unsupervised teens ample time to complete their shopping and leave the mall before PGR begins. After 4 p.m., public safety officers inside the malls will check IDs of individuals who appear to be underage and are not wearing wristbands."
The new temporary policy was also posted on the official Facebook pages for both malls.
David Jacoby, general manager for Mall St. Matthews, says mall employees of ages 17 and under will need to have their store manager or a senior person check them in with security. They will also need to obtain a work pass or special wristband that allows them work privileges during the period that the PGR is in session.
Jacoby also said authorities would be enforcing the policy in all spaces, excluding the Cinemark movie theater. He says it would be up to theater officials to enforce the policy inside their space. Jacoby says the policy is applicable to the mall parking lot outside the movie theater.
St. Matthews Police said as many as 2,000 kids were at Mall St. Matthews around 7 p.m. Saturday, when a "sizable number" of them were involved in disturbances -- including running through the mall and stores, fights, and harassing shoppers and police.
There were also reports of shots fired that officers said turned out to be false.
"Too many kids are unsupervised, said Janel Dickenson, the assistant manager of 'Moochie & Co.' at Mall St. Matthews, earlier this week. "I’m glad they're taking into consideration that something does need to change because of what has happened."
Dickenson told us before the change was announced that she wanted a policy regarding parental guidance at the mall after certain hours -- something several other malls across the country that are owned by the same company as Mall St. Matthews already have in place.
"I think what we need to do is make sure that consumers know that St. Matthews is open for business. We are moving and taking steps to address this issue," said Michael Chesser, the Executive Director of St. Matthews Chamber Of Commerce.
It was business as usual at Mall St. Matthews on Monday, which is exactly what the town's mayor, Richard Tonini, hoped would happen.
"There was not a single person arrested…There wasn't a single window broken or anything stolen from anybody. It was just too many kids in one place at one time," Mayor Tonini said. "I'm sure not afraid of going [to the mall] and I hope no one else is."
But WDRB spoke with the mother of a teenager who was hurt during the weekend chaos at the mall. She described it as the most terrifying thing she’s ever experienced.
Wynette Young said she was with her 16-year-old son, Christopher at the mall on Saturday evening as he shopped for new shoes.
"We heard people screaming. We look up, we see people running toward us," Young said. "People were pushing, running, on top of us. We had no control of ourselves. I ended up on the jewelry store floor at Zales. I looked over and didn’t see my son and I became hysterical."
Young said the 16-year-old had been pushed face-first into a storefront's glass. He suffered a swollen nose, a cut jaw, and his front teeth were pushed back.
"When I saw my son again, his whole mouth was bloody," Young said. "From a mother's standpoint, it was more than minor. It was pretty major."
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