In the face of COVID-19, the government has imposed strict rules of operation for bars and restaurants, but shopping centers and stores have so far gone untouched.
Still, shopping malls and merchants have begun shortening their hours, and many stores inside the malls have closed all together:
- Starting Tuesday, Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls USA will be open from 11 am. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.
- Starting Wednesday, Walden Galleria will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
- Starting Wednesday, Eastern Hills Mall will be open from noon to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.
- Boulevard Mall said it is finalizing a shortened schedule that should be available by the end of the day Tuesday.
- McKinley Mall has not yet announced shortened hours.
At Walden Galleria, nearly 40 stores had announced temporary closures by Tuesday afternoon. Some are national chains that have closed stores across the board, such as Bath & Body Works and Victoria's Secret. Others are locals that are making decisions on a store-by-store basis.
While malls usually fine stores for closing early, opening late or not opening at all; those fines have been suspended for now.
Shoppers are being directed to call ahead to the stores they plan to visit, to make sure they will be open.
But Tuesday afternoon, Erie County Mark Poloncarz implored people to stay away from malls.
"Don't go to the mall," he said at his daily news conference.