The food court is open at Sangertown Square Mall in New Hartford. The Good News is there aren't any long lines or long waits for food. The Bad News: There's no place to sit and eat.

TSM

Traffic is down at nearly all local retailers and restaurants amid the coronavirus pandemic, including at Sangertown Square in New Hartford - which was recently allowed to reopen after installing air filters capable of catching small COVID-19 particles in the air. But complicating the reopening for eateries in the food court at Sangertown is that customers don't have any place to sit.

When Governor Cuomo allowed shoppers to re-enter mall again earlier this month, it was required that seating areas in food courts and common areas be blocked-off, covered or removed.

Representatives of 'Green N Wave', 'China Express' and 'Sicilian Delight' are among those who've written Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente seeking advocacy in their request to have the seating at Sangertown reopened in some fashion.

The letter (in full below) notes that food court customers have been seen eating on the floor, while walking, or at other available countertops in the mall - ones not intended for dining on. The group is asking to be allowed to use half of the available seating area (50% capacity) and argues that since Sangertown installed enhanced HVAC filtration, the air quality at the mall is likely better than other area bars and restaurants who are open.

Dear Anthony Picente Jr.,

We are writing to you as employees of several eateries located in the food court at Sangertown Square.

First, I'd like to thank you for your support in seeking state approval for us to re-open our business.

Please be aware, however, that the state's approval was only a partial solution. Because the mall's food court common seating area must remain closed, some of our usual customers are opting not to patronized our counters. In other cases, we have seen customers sitting on the floor, eating while walking and/or using other surfaces to eat what they have bought.

There's really no need for this to be the case. Our seating areas could be operated at reduced capacity (50%), just like free-standing cafes and restaurants in our area and in the mall. In fact, the air quality at our food court is probably safer than most other food establishments, since the malls HVAC was upgraded to meet the state's new standards.

We are asking for the state to treat us fairly.

I hope you will support us in this effort.

The group thanks Picente for his support in getting the mall reopened and asks for the same support as they request the state to loosen the seating restrictions in food courts.

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Sangertown Food Court Open, But No Seating?