Southside Mall’s Inside Stores
Stay Shut, But May Open Soon
UTICA – In disappointing news for Southside Mall – locally owned interior stores had hoped to open tomorrow (Friday) – Governor Cuomo failed to deliver guidelines that would allow Phase 2 of his un-PAUSE program to open, at least until Saturday.
Contrary to expectations, malls can’t open, although stores with outside entrances may open, Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig, who’s a member of Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council, was told at an MVREDC briefing that ended a few minutes ago.
Phase 2 of the un-PAUSE program – it would have allowed offices and stores in Otsego County and five surrounding counties to open under social distancing guidelines – is on hold because “guidance is still being written by the epidemiologists and scientists,” Herzig said. “Guidelines will be posted no later than tomorrow; the earliest anyone could open will be Saturday.”
According to the briefing, what’s known is retail will be able to open at 50 percent capacity, the mayor said. Customers and store employees must wear masks, and employees will be screened. Details about that will be in the guidelines.
Barbers and hairstylists can be open for hair only (no nails, shaves, etc.) and with specific requirements, equipment and testing; again, details will be in the guidelines.
Stores in Oneonta, Cooperstown and around Otsego County have been closed since the president, then the governor, then county board Chairman David Bliss, R-Coopertown/Town of Middlefield, issued emergency declarations the weekend of March 13, when it was clear the coronarivus had arrived in force in the United States.
Since, stores have been allowed to provide curbside pickup – an extension of the takeout concept for restaurants – but, finding it an ineffective way to merchandise, few stores have done so.