Malls Reopen Across India: Some Abuzz, Others See Tepid Turnout
While Noida malls saw shops remain shut, the crowds were also limited in Bengaluru in the early hours of the day
Even as malls reopened in the second phase of Unlock 1 on 8 June after nearly three months of remaining shut, security and social distancing remained the priority for everyone from customers to store managers.
While the footfall remained limited during the first half of the day, with only a fraction of the usual crowds entering the malls, it picked up pace in a few places.
The Quint visited 4 malls, one each in Patna, Noida, Bengaluru and Kolkata to see the kind of response, whether people were prepared to visit malls and the kind of measures implemented to ensure social distancing.
Right from entering the malls to eating at the foodcourt or simply shopping, there have been a gamut of procedures put in place to make sure people do not gather unsafely in large numbers.
'The Crowd is Nothing Like Old Times’
Forum mall in Koramangala, one of the most popular malls in Bengaluru, wore a nearly deserted look through first half of the day. Even though a majority of stores were open, there were barely any shoppers.
A disinfection tunnel, mandatory sanitizing of hands and belongings and no entry to anyone without a mask, were some of the guidelines in place.
A staffer at Forum mall said the footfall was nothing like what it used to be, pre-coronvirus, but said that more people would come as time passed.
“It is only the first day. People will start coming soon,” he said.
Staggered entry at the mall and restricted diners and number of customers inside stores, were some of the other arrangements. More people started trickling in as the day progressed.
Ankur, marketing manager of Patna Central Mall, said that strict guidelines were in place for the staff as well as customers, and no samples were being provided at any of the shops.
“The mall opened after 71 days. We are giving them sanitizers at the entrance, we are also taking their thermal reading. We are making sure social distancing is followed at all counters. We will be isolating clothes for two days, if a customer tries on something and doesn’t buy it, we will sanitize it before putting it back,” he said.
‘Life Must go on Despite Coronavirus’: Shoppers in Kolkata
South City Mall in Kolkata saw a decent number of shoppers as well as diners in the food court on the first day of malls reopening. As one customer said: “Life must go on despite coronavirus. Slowly, things are opening up again and people need to start earning while taking precautions. This is a good move,” he said.
A lot of families could be seen visiting stores as well as eating and drinking together.
Another visitor said that the government must have had some logic in reopening malls, even though cases were increasing.
“I came on the first day because I think more people will come on the weekends,” he said.
Confusion in Noida Malls
Noida’s DLF Mall of India did not see much crowd on the first day of Unlock 1.
Only Big Bazar was open so the guard at the entrance enquired which shop one has come to visit.
Most shops were closed and the ones opened had only staff members who were planning on precautionary measures to be taken ones the shop opens for the customers.
At the entry, three things were being checked: Face masks, temperature and Aarogya Setu app.
No one at the mall could confirm when the shops will be opening.
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