Unlock 1.0: Shopping malls reopen in NCR; footfall low amid infection fears

People at Select Citywalk after the authorities permitted to reopen malls, in New Delhi on Monday/Photo: Dalip Kumar
Shopping malls in Delhi-NCR and other major cities have started to open from Monday after a gap of more than two months due to Covid-19 pandemic, but footfalls were low as people fear to get infected by the virus.

India''s largest realty firm DLF and Pacific group have not yet opened their malls for public, but Ambience group and Unity group have resumed operations at malls in the national capital.

In the national capital region, Gurugram, Faridabad and Ghaziabad administrations have not given permission so far for opening the shopping malls.

"We will open our malls in Delhi this week. We are taking all necessary steps and following all guidelines issued by the central and state governments to ensure full safety of visitors," Pushpa Bector, Executive Director, DLF Shopping Malls, said.

Ambience group Chairman Raj Singh Gehlot said the company has opened its two shopping malls at Vasant Kunj and Rohini in Delhi.

Unity group director Harsh Bansal said: "We have opened our two malls at Shahdara and Janakpuri in Delhi. The footfall is 25 per cent compared to normal time".  

The Shahdara mall is spread over 3 lakh sq ft and Janakpuri 1.5 lakh sq ft, he said, adding that all existing retailers have opened their shops. Unity group will open its two malls at Rohini and Dwarka on Wednesday.

Gaurs group has opened Gaur City Mall at Noida Extension in Greater Noida. Over 1,100 people have visited the mall so far as against the footfall of over 20,000 during pre-Covid period.

Pacific group ED Abhishek Bansal said: "We are opening Dwarka mall (Delhi) on Tuesday, Ghaziabad mall on June 11 and Tagore Garden (Delhi) on June 13".

Xander-backed Virtuous Retail has said it will open four malls in Bengaluru, Surat, Mohali and Amritsar from tomorrow.

"Chennai and Nagpur are not allowed to open as Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra have not allowed malls to open," said Pankaj Renjhen, COO, Virtuous Retail.

To ensure the safety of people visiting shopping malls, all mall owners said that they are following all the necessary standard operating procedures (SOPs) issued by the Union Health Ministry and state governments.

Mall owners said they will ensure social distancing in their malls, including in lifts and escalators.

Temperature checks at our malls entrances, and use of Aarogya Setu App will be made mandatory for consumers to enter malls.

"We are setting up all the necessary protocols to maintain the 6 feet social distancing norms. Our F&B brands will reduce seating arrangements to 50 per cent and will strictly follow the social distancing guidelines. They will be accepting pre-orders, takeaways and digital mode of payments," Bector of DLF said.

On request for rental waivers, mall owners said they are working with retailers and solutions will emerge amicably. PTI MJH BAL BAL

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