LAKEWOOD – The Chautauqua Mall reopened Thursday morning to lines of people waiting to get inside and shop.
Sharon Bennett, the Chautauqua Mall’s Marketing Director, says doors opened at 11 a.m. after being closed for months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“July 10th when the Governor said that closed malls could open people were knocking on our doors and we felt terrible having to turn them away,” said Bennett. “We just were not ready, the mall needed to meet the requirements necessary by the mandate of the Governor and we needed to get everything ready and safe for people to return.”
“Today we did have some people out front lined up at every door,” said Bennett. “It is nice to be able to now safely welcome them back.”
Bennett says the mall has made modifications to their HVAC system and removed much of their furniture to meet requirements from the state.
She says Hibbett Sports, Shoe Department, Finish Line and Kay Jewelers are just some of the stores that reopened for the first time on Thursday. Additional stores are expected to reopen in the coming weeks.
The mall is asking customers practice social distancing, wear face coverings and not gather in groups.
“We do have a rigorous disinfecting and cleaning procedures that go on every day,” explained Bennett. “If for some reason a guest comes, and they are not wearing a mask and need a mask, our security team will be able to provide them with one.”
Chautauqua Mall is partnering with the Salvation Army and the Humane Society of Chautauqua County to show its support for the local community. Residents are asked to drop off non-perishable food and pet food items in a donation bin located at the main entrance daily from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm.
In addition, Chautauqua Mall has partnered with the American Red Cross to host blood drives July 24, August 14 and August 28 from 11:00 am – 3:00 pm.