Just last Tuesday, the Mid Hudson Region officially opened for phase 3 of the state’s reopening plans. Enclosed shopping malls and movie theaters were not included in the excitement and bustle of phase 3, nor will they be included in phase 4, which is scheduled to begin on July 7.
Malls and other retailers have been closed since March 24 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Retailers with separate entrances were permitted to offer in-store services and curbside pickup under Phase 3.
“The State cites situations in other states where bar and restaurant patrons have crowded into tight venues without masks and social distancing being required, creating greater risk for virus transmission,” said Jasmin Davis, Assistant Marketing Director for the Poughkeepsie Galleria. “That is not in any way comparable to a vast open shopping center with millions of square feet available to socially distance, nor is it comparable to venues like ours with comprehensive safety protocols in place, including the requirement of masks.”
“Otherwise, the primary reason being used for mall closures is that air circulation systems could circulate the coronavirus,” said Davis. “If that is the case, why are freestanding restaurants, barber shops, office buildings, museums and large retailers allowed to remain open?”
In many ways the lack of clarity has put malls, gyms, and movie theaters in an indefinite limbo.
In accordance with the state’s regulations, Newburgh Mall stores and restaurants with their own entrances remain open. Bed Bath & Beyond, Sears and Office Depot are open for in-store services. A few others are open for curbside pickup.
“We plan to continue current operations, until the state allows otherwise,” said Debbie Gaito, assistant general manager for the Newburgh Mall. “Our team looks forward to being able to soon reopen safely.”
As of Tuesday, Orange County had 10,744 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 478 deaths. The City of Newburgh reported 1,543 cases while other municipalities reporting included Town of Wallkill, 965; New Windsor, 875; Town of Newburgh, 754; Montgomery, 608 and Crawford, 91.
Ulster County reported 1808 confirmed cases and 86 fatalities. In Ulster County, the number of confirmed cases included Plattekill, 161; Lloyd, 160; Marlborough, 127; Shawangunk, 113; New Paltz, 87 and Gardiner, 38.