The BFLO Store owner calls for malls to be included in start of Phase 4

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BUFFALO N.Y. (WIVB) – Businesses that were expecting to reopen during the start of Phase Four will have to be a little more patient. The state says gyms, theaters and shopping malls will not open next week, that also included shops located inside the mall.

It’s been months since The BFLO Store inside the Galleria Mall has been open. Its display windows still have items dated back to St. Patrick’s Day. Owner Nathan Mroz says he’s surprised to learn he’ll have to wait longer to open the shop back up.

“You know you could go to a hair salon, now you can get a message, you can do some of these things but you can’t go to a mall, especially a mall that has open air?” He said.

Only outdoor and lower risk indoor activities can reopen, mall however are not considered in that category. Mroz does not agree with the state’s decision and says malls are large enough for people to socially distance.

“At some point they’re almost shooting themselves in the foot when they’re not opening some of these stores,” Mroz said. “I think there are measures in place that are more than safe and I don’t think you’re going to see a spike in cases, especially in a large indoor shopping mall where malls are not what they used to be where it’s wall to wall traffic or it’s Black Friday.”

Mroz says he’s thankful his two other BFLO stores located at the Eastern Hills Mall and the McKinley Mall, because they have their own exterior entrance and can be open. However, he says his employees at the Galleria location are eager to come back.

“It’s a place that a lot of our customers come to and they feel welcomed at The BFLO store and we want to serve them,” he said. “Obviously we missed on a lot of great holidays, even with Father’s Day, Mother’s Day and here we have the fourth of July coming up and we still are shuttered.”

Sarah Minkewicz is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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