'We are decked out': Westchester's Cross County Shopping Center prepares for holidays with 44-foot tree
The Cross County Shopping Center is continuing to spread the holiday spirit for its shoppers this year even as the pandemic rages on.
The mall lit up its 44-foot Christmas tree with a little help from Santa Claus early Friday.
Normally, the Christmas tree lighting would draw huge crowds, but that was not possible this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Other holiday decorations have already been set up throughout the mall.
"We are decked out for the holiday," says senior marketing director Liz Pollack. "We are so ready to welcome our customers for the season."
All of the stores at the Yonkers mall are open at 50% capacity due to coronavirus restrictions.
Pollack says the outdoor mall is not affected by the new yellow zone restrictions that were placed on some parts of Yonkers earlier this week.
She says the mall is encouraging visitors to wear masks both outside and inside while shopping. They also are pushing for shoppers to practice social distancing and wash their hands.
People can still visit Santa at the mall, but they must have a reservation to do so at a safe social distance.
"You won't be able to sit on Santa's lap, or even get a high five or a hug," Pollack says. "But he'll be at his workshop building toys and kids can come in. He'll be on the other side of his work bench."
The mall will also have a popup ice skating rink, a holiday truck food market and Christmas tree giveaways.
Black Friday will also look different with Cross County Shopping Center staying closed on Thanksgiving and opening at 8 a.m. the next day.
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Pollack says being an outdoor mall gives people more confidence because there is more freedom and room to breathe outside.