CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WKBW) — Restaurants and bars have been operating at 50 percent capacity for a few weeks now, but the food court at the Walden Galleria has been closed for months.
“Right now the food court cannot seat anybody," marketing director for Burger King Nicoletta Cammilleri said. "So if you were to go into the food court you’d see that there’s no tables at all. It's kind of devastating, too, honestly.”
Restaurants in the mall are only allowed to do take out and Cammilleri says it is drastically effecting business.
“I mean how often are customers really coming to a food court restaurant to get take out," she said. "Normally you’re shopping, you want to eat and then go back to your shopping. That’s usually the whole experience of it.”
So Cammilleri and other vendors in the Walden Galleria food court have signed a petition to bring that experience back.
“In the petition we just talked about wanting to be treated fairly.”
Cammilleri says the food court wants what every other restaurant and bar already has — the ability to operate at 50 percent capacity.
“And we think this is a reasonable ask,” she adds.
She even highlights how the mall installed a new HVAC system to help combat the virus a few months ago.
“So because of that, it’s actually much safer to eat in the food courts than it is to probably go to another free standing restaurant that doesn’t have that same upgraded HVAC system in place.”
Cammilleri says its unclear as to why food courts were omitted from the re-opening process, but she’s determined to get answers.
“We don’t want people getting sick. That’s not our intention. That's not our goal. But, we want to restore some kind of business for our food court restaurants," Cammilleri said.