The 11 malls in Kolkata and two malls in Howrah are ready to commence operations from Wednesday after the second shutdown in just over a year forced by the pandemic. Though none are expecting very high footfall in the opening week, they have nevertheless worked out the maximum head count in the facility to ensure that they do not breach the 30% footfall limit set by the government.
The malls that have been shut for 45 days with only preventive maintenance carried out during this period saw hectic activity on Tuesday with housekeeping staff cleaning and sanitizing the facility and store employees readying the outlets for business.“We are ready for business. Sanitization is complete. We have thermal check cameras installed at each entrance and also auto head count facility that will track the number of people entering and exiting the mall to ensure the maximum limit is not breached,” said South City mall vice-president Manmohan Bagree.
At Quest, the mall management is not too worried about the head count as footfall after the mall reopened following last year’s lockdown had not recovered to even a fifth of the capacity. “This is a calibrated approach with the economy being gradually opened up in a phased manner so that infections do not spike again. We will continue to provide a safe environment for customers with all Covid protocols in place,” said Quest mall vice-president Sanjeev Mehra.
While there is overall public wariness about the Covid situation after a very challenging experience from mid-April to mid-May, lack of public transport is another reason why mall operators initially do not expect a high turnout.
“We don’t expect footfall to beyond a few hundred on weekdays and a couple of thousand at the weekends. The numbers will increase once public transport is back on road. Till then, customers with essential purchase requirement will walk in,” said Mani Square director Sudarshana Gangulee.
According to Ramesh Pandey, whole time director of Ambuja Neotia group that operates the twin City Centres, the malls will be 100% operational. “The formula that we had worked out last year to ensure that we shared the pain of retailers will be in place this time too. We all have to survive these turbulent times,” he said.
Source: Times of India