Long Island’s largest shopping mall reopened Friday for the first time in nearly four months — with a trickle of wary shoppers dropping by for a little retail therapy.
Customers were required to put on face masks and practice social distancing during their jaunts to Roosevelt Field mall in Garden City, which has been closed since March 19 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Some stores were even conducting temperature checks before letting patrons browse.
But no one seemed to mind.
“I see everybody just trying to adhere to the guidelines,” said Ed Inocent, 38, who lives in Brooklyn, after popping into Gap and Macy’s. “So for me, there’s nothing to worry about.”
Bev Laskin, of East Meadow, was hoping to beat the crowds and buy a new ring at Pandora.
“I just wanted to get here early before it gets crowded,” Laskin said. “As long as we stay away from everyone and do what we need to do I feel pretty good about it.”
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran cheered the opening of Roosevelt Field, which has more than 260 retail stores and employs some 4,000 people. She said the mall generates $88 million in sales tax revenue a year.
“The malls reopening is such a huge deal for us. They generate a lot of money in property taxes,” said Curran at a morning press conference. “This is a huge economic anchor for us, it’s a revenue generator and we have fallen off a fiscal cliff.”
Some big-box stores like Macy’s and JCPenney have been open since late June. Only malls with high-efficiency air filtration systems were allowed to reopen Friday as part of Phase Four fo the state’s reopening plan.
Business at Smith Haven Mall in Lake Grove and Walt Whitman Shops in South Huntington also resumed Friday.
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