The New York-based owners of The Shoppes at Bel Air order the Mobile County Health Department to shut down its operations inside the mall, the Health Department announced Sunday.
No reason has been provided as to why the Health Department’s COVID-19 Response Team was forced to close its vaccination and testing location inside a former Forever 21 store. The mall location was opened last week to accommodate large crowds, and the popularity was so much that the department transferred its staff from its Newburn Building in midtown Mobile to work at the mall.
The mall is owned by Kohan Retail Investment Group. The company nor the Health Department were available to provide an immediate response on Sunday.
Starting Monday, the department will offer vaccines from either the Newburn Building at 248 Cox Street or the Keeler Memorial Building at 251 North Bayou Street in downtown Mobile, according to a news release. Because of the transition, Newburn will be open Monday from 1 to 7 p.m. Its normal hours of operations are from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and noon to 4 p.m. on Sundays. Keeler will continue to be open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
The Newburn Building is across from USA Children & Women’s Hospital. Signs will be displayed to direct those people who wish to get the vaccine or to receive a rapid COVID-19 test.
The Health Department’s shift into the mall occurred during the same week that COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations soared in Mobile County. The county saw its average daily number of cases shoot up to more than 600 last week. That number has since dropped to 472, according to a New York Times tracker. But hospitalizations were up considerably last week, prompting hospital officials to plead with area residents to get vaccinated.