GASTONIA, N.C. — It's a big step in the vaccine rollout for the city of Gastonia. The Eastridge Mall will soon be transformed into a mass vaccine clinic. It's expected to be up and running in a few weeks.
"We're going to start staging and putting things together next week," General Manager of The Eastridge Mall Steve Stout said.
With malls dying, Stout says now is the time to repurpose space to meet a different type of demand.
"You have to have something else to offer the public these days other than retail," Stout said.
That's where Gaston County Emergency Management and Fire Services comes in, they will be transforming the mall into a mass vaccination site similar to the Gastonia Farmer's market vaccine clinic.
"One of the really big benefits of this site is that it has the potential for us to scale up pretty considerably than what we've been doing currently," Communications Director for Gaston County, Adam Gaub said.
According to Gaub, the county is administering around 1,200 shots per day when clinics are held, but with this new location more space means more shots into arms.
"The last couple of weeks have been conversations have been about the vaccine supply is a little pinched but that's not going to be the case for much longer and in a couple of weeks we're going to see the vaccine pick up," Gaub said.
Gaston County is paying about $1,500 a month to use the space and then we’re renting other equipment like porta-potties, and large tents to run the site. All in, that’s about $28,000 a month, with tents being one of the bigger expenses.
All the expenses that the county incurs in doing setup for these mass vaccination sites qualify to be paid out of federal CARES Act money.
Stout hoping more foot traffic will help provide a boost to his stores but says being part of the vaccine rollout means so much more.
"Everyone likes to make some money and you can do that and at the same time you can help people as well," Stout said.
The clinic will be by appointment only.