CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB)–The opening of more businesses under Phase Two led many Western New York retailers to believe they would be opening this week, but disappointment set in when they learned shopping malls were excluded.
Hundreds of stores in Western New York shopping malls are closed while others in stand-alone locations are now open.
The mall stores say it is frustrating.
“There was all this talk about Tuesday being the day and then it was not until that morning. So how can you prepare if you don’t really know, but people are ready,” The BFLO Store owner Nathan Mroz said.
Many of the store operators say they are confused by the state’s decision because they have stores at other locations that are allowed to open, such as The BFLO Store, that is closed at the Walden Galleria, but open here at the Eastern Hills Mall.
Mroz added, “we are in a very blessed position. We actually are able to get two, actually three starting tomorrow, of our outdoor stores open. But if that was not the case we would really be in a tough spot.”
The BFLO Store at Eastern Hills opens to the outside, the Galleria does not.
That’s why Mark Andol’s Made in America store at the Galleria is closed, but his home store in Elma is open.
“In the mall I think they can keep their distance, they can still practice all the safety they need to, but we need to get open. I don’t see the difference from the outside entrance to the inside,” Andol said.
Marlene Gigliotti has operated a salon at the Walden Galleria for more than 20 years, but because she does not access the outside of the mall she can’t open.
Her competitors who do have access to the outside can open under very restrictive health regulations, and now Marlene worries her disadvantage could cost her customers.
When Western New York advances to Phase Three it could throw open the doors at the malls, but store operators want to open for business now.