‘It’s for safety:’ New policy at a Virginia mall requires shoppers to, ‘Please remove hoods’

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NORFOLK, Va. -- There’s a new sign posted at each entrance of MacArthur Center mall in Norfolk, Virginia.

“I did not see that sign today,” said Charie Williams, shopper.

The sign placed at an entrance to Norfolk's MacArthur Center asked shoppers to, "Please remove hoods before entering MacArthur Center.”

“I put this on today because it was cold," said Williams. "It's comfortable. I can carry everything I need in my pocket. I didn’t think nothing of it. It was cute."

The poster was put in place by mall management to enforce their dress code policy regarding hoodies.

“I feel like it's for safety... everybody’s safety," said Charlie Evans.

WTKR obtained a letter the general manager sent out Friday, Nov. 1 to mall tenants -- talking about holiday plans and including an update from Norfolk police regarding the recent arrests of two men involved in an October shooting inside the mall that sent two people to the hospital.

In the letter, management also addressed an update to the code of conduct and said loitering would no longer be allowed in the mall.

“I think about the things that have happened here recently in regards to the shooting, and I kind of understand the worry, given how many people go in and out of the mall,” said Marcus Paige, shopper.

To help reduce the number of people just hanging out, mall officials removed public seating areas -- including a charging station.

However, the rule that was getting people’s attention was the hoodie ban.

“It kind of makes sense, to a degree, but I can understand how it would rub some people the wrong way," said Paige.

“I get it, but at the same time, what are they going to do?" said Williams. "Start banning sunglasses and hats? What’s next?”

Mall officials said they were working with the police department to increase patrols throughout the property and behind the scenes.

“I just want to see everybody happy," said Evans. "I just want to see families happy."

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