[image-1]If you’re anything like me, you spent a significant portion of your youth whiling away the hours at your local mall. There’s just something about the lack of parental supervision mixed with wasting what little money you have on things you don’t need that make the mall a special place for a teenager. But as times change, so do our shopping policies.

Taking effect at 6 p.m. Friday evening, Northwoods Mall in North Charleston will begin enforcing the center’s new Youth Escort Policy. Enacted to “provide all of its shoppers and retailers with a family-friendly, convenient, and enjoyable shopping experience,” the mall’s new policy requires that all visitors under the age of 18 be accompanied at all times by a parent or guardian 21 years of age or older on Friday and Saturday nights after 6 p.m.

According to a statement from Northwoods Mall officials, the policy is intended to “curtail the rising number of unsupervised youth hanging out” at the mall and related disturbances on the property. The new rules apply to all parts of the mall with the exception of department stores and stores with exterior entrances.

A look at the mall’s full policy shows that those found in violation of the curfew and refusing to leave the mall may be prosecuted for trespassing. Minors who work at the mall will be allowed access, but proof of work status is required and they must go directly to their place of employment and leave at the end of their shift during hours of enforcement.

A parent over 18 years old may escort all of his or her children. A single parent or guardian over 21 years old will be permitted to accompany up to three minors, but at least one of the youths must be the child of the escort. The policy also states that if an escorted youth is banned from the center, the adult escort will also be banned for the same period of time, so the family that plays together, pays together.

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