THE WOODLANDS – Brookfield Properties, which owns The Woodlands Mall, sent out a memo to some of the smallest and hardest hit business owners in the mall. The statement threatened to fine businesses for not opening or closing early amid the COVID-19 crisis.
Many of these small businesses are already fighting to keep their business afloat.
“The mall traffic is nowhere close where we have seen the past couple years,” said Abdur Rehmann, the owner of Mobile Outfitters, which has been operating at The Woodlands Mall for seven years.
Rehmann said because of coronavirus traffic as The Woodlands Mall has decreased by 80%.
According to Rehmann, kiosk and pop-up shop owners received a memo Friday from mall management. The memo threatened to issue a $50 per hour fine for businesses that reduced their hours, closed early or did not operate within the mall’s business hours.
“It’s a terrible situation, it left me in shock,” Rehmann said.
After Channel 2 Investigates reached out to Brookfield Properties, a company spokesperson said the company had apologized for the memo and that the fine was a mistake and was not supposed to be part of that memo. Here is a statement that Brookfield Properties sent to Channel 2 Investigates.
“There was an error in a communication that was distributed to select tenants today. We’d like to clarify that we are not fining any retail partners that choose not to open in this current climate. We are following up directly with our tenants to communicate this and to apologize for any confusion.”
After hearing the news that no fines will be levied against his business or any of the other kiosk retailers at the Woodlands Mall, Abdur Rehmann said he was thrilled.
“That is a tremendous relief for me and my employees and partners”, Rehmann said.