Teenagers banned from the mall: age restriction limits teens’s presence at Southpoint
BY SAM BARTLETT
Recently, Southpoint mall implemented a policy that limits the presence of teens on the property during Friday and Saturday nights. The official policy on Southpoint’s website states, The Streets at Southpoint requires that shoppers who are age 18 or under must be accompanied by a parent or responsible adult age 21 or older on Friday and Saturday after 3:00 pm. After 3 pm 17 and under folks have to leave the property or be joined by an adult over the age of 21. Improper identification will result in guests being removed from the property. This restriction is meant to reduce disturbances caused by teenagers by having an adult supervisor, making mall security’s job much easier. But while mall security may benefit, teenagers aren’t necessarily on board with these changes.
“It makes me not travel as often, therefore not being able to see my friends at Southpoint as often. Also, my spending at Southpoint has gone down,” Aidan Arvik, a senior at DSA who lives near the Streets at Southpoint, said.
Teenagers who use Southpoint as a get together place for their friend groups are perhaps the most affected party. In general, teens don’t want to have their parents around when going out with friends so Southpoint has been ruled out as a weekend meetup spot. This not only affects where teens spend their time, but where they spend their money, affecting business too. Especially stores that appeal to younger customers.
“I do think it's affecting business. I think it’s affecting Gamestop, shoe stores, and clothing stores. I think it’s having a negative effect on all food places at Southpoint also,” Arvik speculated.
While business foot traffic may suffer on weekends, the age restriction can help businesses as well.
“Definitely security and safety have benefited around the theatre. We don’t get as many underage kids trying to sneak into movies as we used to,” Victor Schwartz, a manager at the AMC 17 movie theatre at the Streets at Southpoint, commented.
Teenagers can be a source of problems for managers and employees, and the age restriction is clearly meant to reduce these disturbances for the sake of workers and adult shoppers. The official reason for this age restriction being implemented is not known since Brookfield Properties, the owners and real-estate managers of the Streets at Southpoint, has not responded for comment. A future change in the policy would greatly please teen regulars, but managers like Schwartz hope the restriction continues as is.
“I hope [the age restriction policy] does continue, it might not. It’s been very helpful for big movies like R rated movies. It might change, depending on if there are any events going on, but other than that I think it will stay the same,” Schwartz continued.
While it may be helpful to some, it is unclear if this policy continuing in the future is realistic in this age where the mall industry is on the decline. If the decline in business is too drastic the same vacancy and extinction happening to malls around the country could occur at Southpoint, the last major mall in Durham.
“I think [the age restriction policy] is gonna hurt them in the long run. Southpoint has such good reviews, it’s a good spot. Malls are shutting down across the nation, we should preserve malls as a great place for business,” Arvik concluded.