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Home / Cities / Lacklustre weekend at city malls as cinemas remain shut

Lacklustre weekend at city malls as cinemas remain shut

The closure also had a ripple effect on food courts in the malls which were seen lying vacant for want of customers

cities Updated: Mar 15, 2020, 22:03 IST
Amarpal Singh
Amarpal Singh
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Ludhiana, India – March 15, 2020: View of closed cinema hall at Silver Arc Mall in Ludhiana on Sunday, March 15, 2020. (Photo by Harsimar Pal Singh/Hindustan Times)
Ludhiana, India – March 15, 2020: View of closed cinema hall at Silver Arc Mall in Ludhiana on Sunday, March 15, 2020. (Photo by Harsimar Pal Singh/Hindustan Times)

It turned out to be a lacklustre weekend at city malls with the footfall seeing a 50 to 60% dip following the closure of cinema halls amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The closure also had a ripple effect on food courts in the malls which were seen lying vacant for want of customers. However, some residents who were unaware of the government orders regarding the closure, turned up at the malls and had to return disappointed.

The scene was the same at MBD Mall, Waves Mall as well as Pavilion Mall. Mall officials said they have seen a 50 to 60% dip in the visitor count as compared to other weekends.

Rahul, duty manager, PVR Cinema at Silver Arc, said, “On Sundays, the footfall is usually around 3,500 but with the cinema halls closed, only 200-300 visitors have come today. Those who had booked counter tickets in advance were refunded the cash and those who had booked tickets online were informed that they will get the amount back in their account.”

Tarun Kapoor of Haibowal, who was at the mall with his friends to watch a Punjabi movie, said, “As today was a holiday, we decided to watch a movie but were dejected to see the cinemas closed. Now, we are planning on going to either a market or a restaurant to spend the Sunday.” He added that they were not aware of the government notification.

Similarly, Japnoor Kaur of BRS Nagar, who was at one of the city malls to watch a movie with her mother, said that she had booked the tickets two days ago. “As coronavirus is spreading, it is good that the government has asked cinemas to close as a precautionary measure. In fact, I suggest that all public places should be closed and everyone should cooperate to avoid the spread of the virus,” she said.

One of the managers at a food court, requesting anonymity, said that a majority of their customers on a Sunday are those who come to watch movies. “If they won’t come to watch movies, our businesses will be directly affected as has been seen today. Empty tables are the order of the day,” he said.

Deep Kumar, operations manager at Silver Arc, said that cinema halls and Talwalkers gym in the mall have been closed.“Earlier, during weekends the mall used to witness around 9,000 visitors in a day but it has dipped to 4,000-4,500,” he said.

A showroom manager, in one of the malls, requesting anonymity, said that the closure of cinema hall has affected the entire footfall in the mall which is affecting the businesses. “Although it is for the safety of residents, there are several public places such as railway station, bus stand, banks, restaurants which are open. So the closure of just cinema halls will not solve any purpose,” he said.

Officials at The Waves Mall, requesting anonymity, said that they are following the instructions of the administration and all precautionary measures are being taken by the authorities.

CONFUSION OVER GYMS

A number of gym owners in the city expressed confusion at the government’s order to close gyms and said they will remain open in the absence of any formal intimation from the administration. While some of the gym owners said they will be closed from Monday, others were apprehensive.

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