By Michael DePietro
Interim Tribune Editor
Although initially thought to be included in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s phase four reopening plans, this week malls across the state learned they would have to remain closed for now. During the governor’s press briefing on Wednesday, Cuomo said state health officials would continue to “study malls, movie theaters and gyms,” as concerns rise that air conditioning systems could propel a resurgence of the coronavirus.
Thursday afternoon on LCTV, Niagara County Legislature Chairwoman Becky Wydysh said her Western New York regional “control room” reopening group is advocating for the opening of those particular venues.
Currently, there is no phase five of reopening planned. Instead, malls are locked in a holding pattern awaiting individual instructions and guidelines from the state as more data becomes available.
When questioned, representatives for the Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls in the Town of Niagara said they had no comment on the governor’s decision at this time.
However, while administration awaits the go-ahead from the state, plenty of developments are happening behind the Fashion Outlets’ closed doors.
In fact, a few new stores are in the works, including:
√ A new 9,748-square-foot Adidas store will be opening, located near Express Factory Store. Opening date to be determined.
√ A new 2,700-square-foot Tory Burch store will be opening, located near COACH. Opening date to be determined.
√ A newly remodeled Lindt store will be opening. Opening date to be determined.
√ TaiChi Bubble Tea will open next to Applebee’s Bar & Grill. Tentative opening date is Aug. 1.
√ There is also a Phantom Fireworks tent sale taking place in the Military Road parking lot now through July 4.
The Fashion Outlets also outlined some of the new health and safety procedures that will be in place once the OK is given for reopening. Additional hand sanitizing stations have been added, and there will be an “intensifying of our usual, thorough cleaning procedures around floors, doors and public areas.”
Signage has also been added that will remind customers to maintain at least 6 feet of social distancing, and also provide information on CDC’s advice for preventative behaviors. Mall entrances will have specific doors identified for “Enter” and for “Exit” to help guide foot traffic.
Although the mall interior currently remains effectively closed, there’s plenty of shopping to be had along the Fashion Outlet’s exterior. Seventeen out of 20 of the mall’s retailers with exterior entrances are open for in-person shopping, including: Aeropostale (opened June 12): 716-298-8140; Dave’s Christmas Wonderland: 716-671-2218; DXL Men’s Outlet: 716-298-5741; Famous Footwear: 716-513-1001; Foot Locker (opened June 12): 716-297-5151; Forever 21: 716-513-1037; Gap: 716-298-0755; Hanesbrands: 716-297-3822; Marshalls (opened June 15) 716-297-3803; Nautica: 716-298-1903; Rainbow: 716-297-1034; Shoe Dept. Encore: 716-297-0357; Skechers: 716-297-5464; The Uniform Outlet: 716-297-2050; Van Heusen | IZOD: 716-297-7470.
Some of these stores have additional safety protocols and adjusted hours in place. Contact the store directly for details.
According to the mall’s website, a few stores offer curbside pickup. Contact the following stores or visit their websites for more information: Coach: 716-298-1771; Kate Spade New York: 716-297-6042; Kirkland’s: 716-297-0583; Levi’s: 716-297-1321; Shoe Dept. Encore: 716-297-0357; The Uniform Outlet: 716-297-2050.
In terms of dining, Applebee’s remains the lone eatery open at the mall. In addition to its “Carside to Go” pickup option, the location also recently resumed indoor dining. For more information, call 716-298-1085.