Upscale Florida mall closes early as a precaution to George Floyd protests

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Town Center at Boca Raton, a mall in Palm Beach County, Florida, closed down early Monday as a precautionary measure in light of protests that have sparked across the country.

The upscale mall’s scheduled hours of operation were supposed to be 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. EST, but it ended up shutting down at 2 p.m., a security officer confirmed to FOX Business over the phone.

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There were no reported threats to the mall in particular, however, higher-ups at the Town Center made a decision to close down the mall as a precaution. The mall will return to normal hours starting Tuesday, the security officer told FOX Business.

The Boca Raton Police Services Department shared its knowledge about news regarding potential protests in a tweet shortly before the mall was shut down.

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“We are aware of the information circulating about potential protests in our city today,” the Boca Police Services Department tweeted at 1:33 p.m. EST. “@bocapolice are actively monitoring this activity and taking necessary precautions.”

FOX Business reached out to the Boca Raton Police Services Department about the matter and was told by the authority’s public information officer that local law enforcement had no involvement in shutting down the Town Center at Boca Raton.

Town Center at Boca Raton management did not immediately return FOX Business’ call.

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The mall, which is owned by Simon Property Group Inc., houses upscale retailers such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Versace, Cartier and more.

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High-end retailers have been targeted by looters throughout the country following protests related to the death of George Floyd. Over the weekend, countless stores big and small have been damaged or vandalized during riots.

Simon Property Group did not immediately respond to FOX Business’ request for comment on the Town Center’s early closure.

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Other malls throughout Florida have closed doors earlier than expected, some of which have confirmed doing so in relation to safety or rumored protests.

Aventura Mall in Miami-Dade County closed at 2 p.m. EST for "safety reasons," according to an automated voice message. A tweet was also shared at 4:37 p.m. to alert potential customers.

“Aventura Mall closed at 2pm today due to circumstances throughout South Florida,” the tweet reads.

The Mall at Wellington Green in Palm Beach County closed at 4 p.m., a mall security officer confirmed to FOX Business over the phone, although he could not share the reason why.

However, a tweet from the Village of Wellington said there are rumors that a peaceful protest may take place.

“RUMOR CONTROL: Reports have been circulating about a demonstration in Wellington this evening,” the tweet shared. “@wellingtongrn and @PBCountySheriff anticipate a peaceful gathering, but they are prepared to handle any situation. The Mall closes at 4 PM. We encourage everyone to stay home.”

Sawgrass Mills Mall in Broward County also closed at 4 p.m., according to a tweet from the Sunrise Police Department.

“The Sawgrass Mills Mall closed at 4:00pm this evening. (06/01/2020),” the tweet reads. “No entry N.W. 136th Ave. has been closed between Azure Alley and Green Toad mall entrances. This is the area in front of the BB&T Center.”

A security officer at Sawgrass Mills Mall could not confirm the closure or explain the reasoning for the closure to FOX Business.

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