NEW YORK - While indoor malls in New Jersey are finally opening again, malls like the Palisades Center mall in West Nyack remains closed, despite being just 20 minutes away from the state border.
The enormous shopping center has been closed since March, with gates pulled down and locked on most of its businesses, each one losing more and more money every day.
“It’s definitely a punishment, it feels like,” said Julene Finley, the owner of Color Me Mine, a paint-your-own-pottery shop in the mall. Finley says that her business is down nearly 98 percent.
“The draw to opening in the mall was because of the traffic and people being here,” Finley said. “Now that I don’t have anybody walking around or people seeing me, I’m not on anybody’s thoughts.”
That frustration has now gotten the attention of Rockland County Executive Ed Day, who says he has been pleading with Governor Andrew Cuomo to allow malls to reopen in Phase 4. Day says it would mean a major boost in revenue for the county by next week.
“I’m imploring the Governor to put his eye back on the ball,” Day said. “Start letting us open up again. It’s killing the county. Beyond the human factor, it’s killing our budgets, it’s killing our revenues here.”
However, Cuomo has made it a point to say malls are closed in New York indefinitely, even saying in a conference call Friday that he won’t give the green light until the state Health Department determines that there is a proven air filtering system that would remove the virus from the air.
“He is going to be the single biggest cause for a huge tax increase for everybody in the state,” Day said.
Big box stores at the mall have been allowed to stay open if they have a separate entrance leading to the outside.
Pyramid Management Group, which operates the Palisades Center mall, released a statement to FOX 5 NY calling the continued shutdown both unfair and unjust, saying that there is no documented link between HVAC systems and the spread of COVID-19 in malls.