On Monday, malls in the city of Bengaluru was given a go-ahead to reopen after three months of being closed due to the COVID19 lockdown in the country. However, probably for the first time in ages, the malls looked deserted.
The malls that were closed on the 14th of March reopened on the 8th of June. With theatres and play areas being closed, only shops were allowed to open and hence the malls attracted lesser crowd than expected. Another reason for poor footfalls is it being a Monday, the first day of work. Since e-commerce businesses were allowed to function earlier, most people would have found an alternative to shopping malls in the lockdown. However, the malls expect more people to visit over the weekend.
Garuda Mall, one of the most popular and oldest shopping centers in Bengaluru, with only 60 percent of its establishments open, had only 20 visitors during the peak time of 7:30 pm. Due to the renovation of the mall, the building has only one entry gate where people were screened thermally, underwent full-body disinfecting followed by sanitizing their hands. Uday Garudachar, the owner of the mall, looked positive and said,
“It would seem that people are still very hesitant to come into the malls despite all the precautions. But I heard from my people that by 4 pm, around 120 cars had come to the parking lot. So, going by that, I can tell you that 400-500 people at least came to the mall. But in the days to come, these numbers will definitely improve.”
Malls Eye The Weekend
A manager at one of the retail stores in the mall said that the experience of having no visitors felt odd. He said,
“We have hardly had any customers today. We have all the safety measures in place. Our trial rooms are operational partially. We are sanitizing the room and touchpoints after each use. But yeah we have to wait and see to know the actual impact.”
A staff at Bengaluru’s other popular shopping center, Koramangala’s Forum Mall, said that the management hasn’t made any calculations regarding the footfalls. He also added that the customers are trusting the safety precautions and would definitely come in numbers over the weekend.
Apart from the thermal screening and hand sanitization, floor markings are on elevators and escalators to ensure physical distancing. The staff has also been disinfecting the common places regularly. While Garuda Mall has made it mandatory to have the Arogya Setu application, Oasis mall is keeping a register of names and phone numbers of the visitors.
Source: The News Minute