Photo: River Ridge Mall Facebook

River Ridge Mall is eliminating its “Youth Escort Policy”, one that required teens 18 and under to have a parent or legal guardian with them when visiting the mall Friday and Saturday evenings. It was implemented under previous River Ridge managers, and the current ones say removing the policy will allow teens to enjoy the mall without compromising security and public safety.

River Ridge Mall news release: LYNCHBURG, VA. – River Ridge eliminates the “Youth Escort Policy,” allowing teens to enjoy the mall on Friday and Saturday nights. The policy, created and enforced by a previous management company, was established in 2014. It prohibited teens, ages 18 and under, from visiting the mall after 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, unless accompanied by a parent or legal guardian over the age of 21.

According to the previous management company, the policy was created to curb disruptive behavior in the mall after numerous complaints to mall management. Nearly four years after the creation of the policy, River Ridge, now managed by CBRE as of October 2017, believes eliminating this policy will once again enable teen shoppers to enjoy the mall.

“The former ‘Youth Escort Policy,’ did not allow teenagers to shop or eat at the mall during the majority of their free time-weekend evenings,” said Steve Halle, General Manager of River Ridge. “This policy sent an unwelcoming message to teens, and families with teens in our community. We want the community to know that our teen shoppers are welcome and very important to us.”

With safety as River Ridge’s top priority, management believes safety will not be comprised with the elimination of the policy. River Ridge has a dedicated security team on-site to ensure guest safety at all times.

“River Ridge posts our ‘Code of Conduct,’ in our common areas and on our website,” said Halle. As long as shoppers-including teenagers-are abiding by the Code, River Ridge will continue to be a safe and enjoyable experience for the community. And that is our overarching goal.”