Unchartered waters for large and small businesses as New York remains on “PAUSE”

Post Covid, a deserted mall on brink of bankruptcy

By Kathy Kahn

In its heyday, Palisades Center was Clarkstown’s largest source of tax revenue. After missing its April mortgage payment, scuttlebutt has it that one of the largest malls in the U.S. will be on the auction block.

Pyramid Cos.’ retail/restaurant/entertainment complex in West Nyack has been open for 22 years. Since the closing of two major anchors, J. C. Penney and Lord & Taylor, followed the late 2019 announcement that Bed, Bath & Beyond would be exiting by 2020, management was already scrambling to find ways to fill the void. All that has significantly changed since Covid-19 reared its ugly head.

The loss of Palisades Center will be a devastating blow to the both Clarkstown’s and Rockland’s income stream, which has already been hard hit. Rockland registered some of the highest number of cases in the state, along with Westchester, Long Island and the five boroughs–and there’s little doubt Palisades Mall will be a brick-and-mortar victim of Covid. It also means its hundreds of employees will not be returning to their jobs.

Another mega-retailer, Simon Property Group, which owns the Shoppes At Nanuet and Woodbury Common Premium Outlets, has plans to open its other malls around the nation but not the two in the mid-Hudson due to “NYPAUSE.” Mall workers for Simon have been locked out since mid-March, with many not sure their jobs will be there after the lockdown is over.

Once Cuomo decides to let New York reopen, it will be a strange new landscape for business and the shopping public. There’s always a chance that Gov. Andrew Cuomo will extend the “NYPAUSE” until June—which may be the last nail in the coffin for those businesses trying to stay alive during the pandemic who are quickly running out of financial and physical steam to remain viable.

Talk of new guidelines that will require all stores and shopping centers to include “temperature-takers,” disposable gloves and mandatory masks for workers and shoppers is already on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s list of proposed safeguards to protect the public.

Even with precautions in place, venues considered “essential businesses” are also feeling the economic impact of the limited access and the dwindling supplies as they attempt to “social distance” shoppers and protect workers. Some, including Walmart, have limited the number of guests it allows in each store, leading to lines of people not practicing the recommended six feet of separation while waiting to gain entrance.

This week, Cuomo’s musing that reopening too soon may lead to more deaths–“To me, I say cost of a human – a human life is priceless, period.”–is ironic, considering it comes from a person who actively endorses late-term abortion, up to the moment of birth.