As States consider unlock, mall owners urge authorities to allow resumption of their operations

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani New Delhi | Updated on May 28, 2021

A worker cleans the glass at a mall in Chennai   -  Businessline

Business loss in past eight weeks pegged at ₹3,000 crore

As States such as Delhi and Maharashtra begin mulling gradual unlocking of economic activities, Shopping Centres Association of India (SCAI) has shot off letters to several State governments urging them to allow malls to resume operations as restrictions get lifted.

According to industry estimates, the malls and shopping centres sector is estimated to have witnessed losses of about ₹3000 crore in the past eight weeks due to various restrictions imposed by State governments to curb the spread of the pandemic.

Last year, when the Central government unlocked activities post the national lockdown in phases, malls and shopping centres got the nod to resume operations much later than high streets, markets and standalone retail shops. Now, industry players said that they are hoping that malls will be given the nod to resume operations in the first or the second phase by authorities.

Also read: Retail sales down 49% in April against pre-pandemic levels: RAI survey

“In the last one year of the Covid era, our sector has dealt with extremely harsh situations in terms of business. Even after the gradual opening of nation in the unlock phase, shopping malls and centres were given the permission to operate at the later stage which resulted in massive loss of revenue to the sector as well as the government. The sector was only coming to normalcy before the second wave hit the nation,” SCAI stated in its letter.

The industry body has written letters to States such as Delhi, Maharashtra, Punjab and Madhya Pradesh among others.

The industry body said that resumption of operations by its members will be done in adherence to stringent hygiene and safety protocols. “As an organised sector, we could restrict the number of people entering the mall and shops and ensure that every visitor has been properly screened before entering. Besides installing proper equipment to maintain hygiene at the highest level, we also ensure that the workforce is properly trained, and the facility is thoroughly cleaned in regular intervals. Due to stringent hygiene protocols taken, the shopping experience becomes safer for consumers,” it said in the letter.

Also read: NRAI urges mall owners to support restaurant industry

“In light of the hardships being faced by the industry we seek your support which will ensure the industry gets its due from the exchequer. We strongly urge you to allow the shopping centres/ malls to start operation with the immediate effect and let the customers experience a controlled and safe shopping experience. We also urge you to allow malls to operate as per regular operational hours,” the letter added.

Published on May 28, 2021

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