From Inorbit in Malad to R City Mall in Ghatkopar many began operations from Friday in order to ensure that public connect remained, especially considering that malls have been shut for the past many months.
The mall operators said that they are trying to operate with fully vaccinated staff and also with those who are above 60 years of age.
On August 15, malls in the city opened up. They said that they were following the BMC chief IS Chahal’s verbal directions that said staff of malls will be allowed to work if they had one vaccine dose. But with the state government’s August 16 notification stating that all employees including managers and housekeeping staff of malls must have completed 14 days after receiving both the doses, they decided to shut down the mall again.
Gurvineet Singh, CEO of Viviana Mall however said that the directive of managers and housekeeping staff requiring both doses means that they need to operate on very skeletal staff.
“Retail stores in the mall are operating with hardly any staff. This is affecting the customer experience. We are trying to get security and other staff that are 60 plus but that’s not enough. However, the mall is a place where a majority of visitors are between the age of 18-45 years and asking for complete vaccination for them before entering means that the footfalls are very low. We fear that it may soon become unviable for us to operate in such a scenario,” said Singh.
Some malls are even trying to get support staff from other cities who may be fully vaccinated. Kandivali’s Growel’s 1O1 mall also opened up on Friday. Sachin Dhanawade – Chief Operating Officer (COO) Retail & Real Estate, Grauer & Weil (India) Limited, which operates Growel’s 1O1 Mall in the Kandivali suburb of Mumbai, said that to get operations started, they are arranging for fully vaccinated temporary manpower to enable daily operations of our mall.
“At the same time, we are also arranging for the second dose of the vaccination for the staff as and when they are eligible. Malls in Mumbai are collaboratively seeking a meeting with the concerned government authorities to get a resolution over this situation and help us safeguard livelihoods that depend on the mall’s ecosystem,” he said.
Rajneesh Mahajan, Chief Executive Officer, Inorbit Malls India Pvt Ltd and also director of Shopping Centres Association of India (SCAI) — a body which represents many major malls in the city said that they too have started with around half a dozen brands opening shops. “With the current government rule, we may be able to operate with staff in full strength only by the end of September. While the current system is not financially viable to run a business but then to ensure customer connect we are trying to partially operate,” he said.
A spokesperson from Ghatkopar’s R City Mall said that they restarted operations from August 20 and would be able to comment on business performance after assessing the numbers in the coming days.
“Given the challenging circumstances where full vaccination is mandatory for the staff to open their stores, we are trying our best to ensure a safe and convenient shopping experience for our customers with available resources and in adherence to the strict compliance with the government norms,” said the mall.