Northwoods Mall was reopened about 4:30 p.m. today after having been evacuated for several hours due to a bomb threat.

The mall was cleared out about 2 p.m. after a note was found indicating some type of device might be in the mall, according to a news release.

The area around the mall was blocked off and shoppers were asked to avoid the area, North Charleston police spokesman Spencer Pryor said.

As of 4 p.m., the mall had been largely emptied of customers and employees.

Store employees were milling around in the parking lot, but most shoppers had left the mall. Employees of the Belk department store were huddling around a pickup truck under two beach umbrellas and sipping refreshments.

“I thought I was going to miss out on the pretty weather because I had to work,” one employee said. “Now I’m worried about getting sunburned.”

One shopper said she’d heard a note had been found at Sears, but all the stores were being evacuated.

The mall was ringed with police cars, fire trucks and ambulances, as well as a Bomb Squad vehicle from the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office. Police officers were walking around the areas of Sears and Dillards, looking around hedges and inside trash receptacles.

Several restaurants near the mall were enjoying a brisk business from shoppers and employees forced to leave the shopping center. A costumed fish mascot was waving evacuees into The Wreckfish.

Shortly after 4 p.m., an officials were saying the mall was about to be reopened and around 4:20, Pryor sent out a news release saying the Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad had checked the mall and no device was found.

He referred questions about the malls hours this evening to mall management. The mall was open for business, but not all of the stores were open.

There were plenty of empty parking spaces.