It has been around 6 months that the first COVID-19 case came to light in India and since then the virus has been spreading, exacting not just humanitarian costs, but also the economic costs, affecting every single sector in the country. The situation has been extremely challenging for the shopping centre industry which was forced to shut down for more than 70 days.
After more than two months of lockdown, some shopping malls in the country were allowed to reopen on June 8, 2020 and they did so, embracing the new normal. In fact, malls in some parts of the country are still waiting for a green signal to open their doors to customers. The current situation has caused a huge dent in retail trade, the immediate effects of which are huge losses of revenues and jobs. The situation will also have a cascading and devastating effect on the economy. Data from SCAI (Shopping Centres Association of India) indicates that there are 650 large shopping centres that contribute over ₹180,000 crore in sales with 1000 plus smaller shopping centres contributing another ₹50,000 crore to the sales of the organised retail sector.
With the reopening, malls are gearing up to follow all SOPs (Standard Operating Procedure) laid down by the Government of India as well as SCAI so as to keep the shopping space safe in order to ensure customer and employee health safety. In the meanwhile, an old debate has been reignited which is the more safe and secure space to shop: malls or high street stores?
Safety, Hygiene & Technology
Safety, hygiene and the wellbeing of customers are the first priority of shopping malls in the new normal. All measures are followed to keep both patrons and employees safe and malls are going that extra mile to assure and convince consumers that the mall is a safe place to shop. A large part of this activity involves relooking at traditional ways of doing things and changing daily functions to stay safe from COVID-19.
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