LUZERNE COUNTY, Pa. — For weeks, the parking lot of the Laurel Mall has been empty, but come this weekend, property manager Rocco Arruzzo hopes that changes.
"Well, since the county is going yellow and the Laurel Mall has a lot of essential businesses along with other businesses, we have to open the mall to help out the essential businesses that can open," said Arruzzo.
Arruzzo says businesses like hair, nail, and massage places inside the mall, as well as a brand new Planet Fitness will still be closed, and CDC guidelines for all other retail stores will be in effect.
"Signage will be on the doors as the social distancing, masks, the CDC requirements. Sanitizing machines are going to be placed throughout the whole mall," explained Arruzzo. "We're going to have full-time security here along with full-time maintenance and housekeeping the mall will be sanitized."
To comply with the governor's order, the property manager tells Newswatch 16 all of the seating will be taken out of the food court and restaurants.
Areas deemed recreational, like kiddie rides, will also be roped off.
"The best way to put it to you is the recreational part of the mall is going to be closed," added Arruzzo. "So for the most part, it's the essential businesses, the important retail, and the doctors' offices and things like that because we provide a lot of services at the Laurel Mall."
One service looking forward to the reopening is a staffing agency, FIS Recruitment. Brian Goehringer has been allowed to operate his business throughout the crisis, but it hasn't been ideal.
"Well, the mall has been kind enough, so in order for us to work and operate, we need to do drug screenings, we also have to have applications filled out," explained Goehringer. "The mall has been kind enough to let us set-up a tent in the parking lot to meet individuals in the parking lot. So once the mall is open, it's going to be so much easier cause we won't have to be outside, we can actually be inside working in our office."
The mall will have shorter hours until Luzerne County goes green.
It will be open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The property manager says the mall is lucky it did not lose any tenants in the mall's downtime during the pandemic.