Calls growing to reopen indoor shopping malls

Posted at 1:37 PM, Jun 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-16 19:18:24-04

Indoor shopping malls still haven't been given clearance to by New York State to reopen, leaving some business owners frustrated to say the least.

"Financially, it has crippled us. So, we’re trying to hang on," said Euphoria Salon and Spa Owner, Marlene Gigliotti.

Gigliotti open in the Walden Galleria in the Town of Cheektowaga in 1993.

Malls across the state are crucial to the economy, providing jobs, income, and revenue for local governments. The Walden Galleria alone hosts over 200 retailers, dozens of restaurants, and several entertainment establishments. The Galleria also employs 4,255 people, pays $60 million in total payroll, and contributed about $45.5 million in annual taxes to New York State, local governments, and school districts in 2019.

Without clear guidance from the state and a prompt reopening timeline, many of these businesses in malls face an uncertain future.

The state has now allowed retailers, restaurants, professional services, and big box stores elsewhere to reopen with limited capacity and face mask requirements.

"The continued decline of COVID cases and hospitalizations, despite the continued reopening, shows that these public health regulations are effective at preventing the spread of COVID. Therefore, malls should be allowed to reopen immediately with appropriate safety measures, such as limited capacity, restricted gathering spaces, and face mask requirements," said Assemblywoman Monica Wallace.

“Every day that malls stay closed, thousands of workers remain unemployed, thousands of businesses remain shuttered, and local governments continue to miss out on crucial revenue,” she added.

“Each day the lockdown on malls continues, the less likely it is that these small retailers will survive. The spread has been slowed, and as we have learned from essential businesses and retailers that have reopened, we can continue to contain COVID with the proper PPE, social distancing, and frequent sanitizing.” “We are trying to survive,” said Gigliotti added.

There's still no clear time frame when malls will be allowed to reopen.

Wallace said she hopes it happens this week.