Aug. 6, 2020 By Allie Griffin
The city shut down a popular shopping mall in Flushing after finding customers inside common areas of the mall — a violation of state COVID-19 regulations.
The City Department of Buildings (DOB) placed a vacate order on the New World Shopping Center, located at 136-20 Roosevelt Ave., after inspectors found people throughout the inside of the mall on Tuesday.
Indoor shopping malls in New York City are not permitted to be open due to the pandemic.
They were originally set to open in Phase IV of the state’s reopening plan, but when the city moved into that phase in July, Governor Andrew Cuomo decided to keep the busy indoor shopping centers closed.
Despite the state mandate, common areas of the New World Mall were found to be open to the public. A DOB inspector found “continuous foot traffic throughout common areas” of the New World Shopping Center on Tuesday, according to a complaint.
“Limiting crowded enclosed spaces in our city is a critical measure in preventing the spread of COVID-19, and protecting the health of our fellow New Yorkers,” said Andrew Rudansky, DOB Press Secretary. “We closed the mall after we found that the owners were putting the public at risk by ignoring New York’s state and local health regulations for indoor shopping malls.”
Only businesses inside a mall that have their own exterior entry and exit way from the street level — separate from the mall building entrance — are allowed to be open.
The mall features JMART, an Asian supermarket, on the first and second levels; a dim sum restaurant and large banquet hall on the third floor as well as 108 retail shops, a food court, karaoke lounge and underground parking garage.
The owners of the New World Mall have since submitted a proposal to the DOB on how they can safely reopen areas of the mall that are permitted under the state order. The department is currently reviewing the proposal.
The Queens Daily Eagle was the first to report the story.