Eastdale Mall reopens but merchants don't

Posted by: Melissa McKinney - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Eastdale Mall is back in business.  Mall managers reopened at 6:00 Tuesday night.

It shut was down Sunday after someone discovered a body in a bathroom and there was a report of leaking freon near the ice rink.

Investigators ruled the mall is safe, but not everyone was happy with the timing of the reopening.

"It scares me," says McGregory Riley.

Riley is a regular at Eastdale and hopes this past weekend's events don't hurt the mall.

"I'm frightened to really just walk into the mall," he says.

Riley's one of a handful of shoppers hitting the mall just minutes after managers reopened it.

But what he found inside was anything but the Eastdale he's used to.

One mall employee says nearly half of the stores decided not to open their doors again at 6:00.

She tells WSFA 12 News there was little communication between employees and mall managers about re-opening.

WSFA 12 News crews weren't allowed on the property and tried to talk to managers but were told they weren't doing interviews.

They did release a statement saying:

"We are happy the air quality experts have determined that the mall is safe and that we can reopen for business. We welcome back our employees, our retailers, and our customers."

Still Riley hopes Eastdale isn't affected long term.

"Hopefully everybody [will] get back to normal and things will go as planned."

Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange says that's what authorities are trying to prevent.

"The ability to go and participate in shopping at the mall and going to the theaters and all is very important and we hope that [continues] very soon, but obviously being very cautious about citizen safety is the highest order."

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