Valley View Mall officially reopens to shoppers for first time in more than two months

Mall was closed since March 18 prior to Friday's re-opening

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – The Valley View Mall is welcoming back its shoppers once again.

Hours ran from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday.

About half of the stores in the mall are lifting the gates for Memorial Day weekend.

“What brought me back is to support the local community,” shopper Robert G. said.

“I wanted to return a couple items I purchased online,” shopper Debbie Ender said. “That didn’t work. But the stores weren’t open. And I wanted to check out and see what was open. And I wanted to kind of return my life to some normalcy.”

Coming back to the mall was important for Robert, one of the shoppers.

“I think it’s important that we support the local communities, and we’re able to support those who are trying to get back to work so they can start making a living again,” he said.

The coronavirus is still looming, but he says it’s not a huge concern for him.

“If I’m looking for the silver lining out of all of this, is that people are taking their personal hygiene more seriously that may not have, because that’s going to be key in keeping this down,” Robert said.

But Ender is questioning if COVID-19 spread will be contained enough.

“It does concern me…because I believe the threat is real,” Ender said. “I think that people are going out in public and not using safety precautions.”

Mall general manager Jeff Odom says the possibility of more cases continues to be on his mind.

“Always a concern,” Odom said. “But we just want to make sure people understand we’re working hard to provide a safe, healthy environment for them to come shop.”

There will be continue to be risk involved for mall shoppers and staff, but Robert thinks it won’t be long before even more shoppers return,

“But I do think people would like to get out more,” he said. “I really do.”

Odom also says it will take about another month or so for all stores in the mall to re-open.

Big factors are getting proper equipment and finding enough workers.

Also if you plan on coming back to the mall, there will be some changes. You’ll see more hand sanitizing stations, no soft-seating areas, and tables in the food court will be spaced apart by eight feet. Only four people can sit at each table.

The mall is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

And from noon to 6 p.m. on Sundays.