Despite heavy rain alert, malls in Mumbai to reopen todayUpdated: Aug 05, 2020 02:47 IST
Though the heavy rainfall warning issued for the city for Wednesday is likely to play spoilsport, owners of malls and shopping complexes have decided to reopen the establishments after more than four months, as per the civic body’s directives.
On Monday, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) released a circular, allowing malls and shopping complexes to remain open from Wednesday, between 9am and 7pm. However, theatres, restaurants and food courts are yet to get the nod from the civic body to remain open. The kitchen of restaurants in food courts can, however, operate for home delivery through aggregators.
A spokesperson for Phoenix Marketcity, Kurla, and Palladium and High Street Phoenix, Lower Parel, said, “We plan to open tomorrow [Wednesday] as per schedule, provided rain does not play a spoilsport. Phoenix has planned a number of precautionary measures for customers as well as for the staff amid the Covid-19 outbreak. However, we are unsure how many customers will visit the mall because of the rain.”
Malls are gearing up to reopen and will implement safety measures such as checking temperatures of customers with thermal cameras or scanners, using ultraviolet scanners to disinfect bags at the entrance, placing hand and shoe sanitisers at various points in the mall, conducting periodic disinfection of the mall premises, sanitasation of washrooms and marking floors outside retail shops that witness overcrowding to ensure social distancing, asking all customers to mandatorily download Aarogya Setu mobile application on entering. Some malls also made rooms for staffers and customers showing Covid-19 symptoms to isolate them until medical workers reach the spot. There are also provisions for first aid kits and digital payment options. Ambulances will be on standby, along with doctors on call.
Kunal Varshan, owner, Atria Mall, said, “We are opening on Wednesday as per schedule. Retail stores in the mall will remain open. Despite the heavy rainfall alert, we have decided to open as the alert was published last week. To ensure safety of customers, we will take steps such as thermal scanning at entrance, disinfection of the premises and washrooms every two hours, and have placed hand sanitisers at various points. Social distancing norms will be followed even in elevators and on escalators.”
Many malls have also installed sensor-based taps, soap dispensers and drinking water spouts in washrooms and automated parking ticket dispensers, even as provisions are made for sensor-based lift operations.
Sachin Dhanawade, chief operating officer (COO), retail and real estate, Grauer & Weil (India) Limited, which operates Growel’s 101 mall at Kandivli, said, “We have installed UV lights in the baggage scanners and thermal cameras to track the movement of customers throughout the mall premises ensuring that the rule of one person per 75 square foot, is mandated. From entry to exit, all touch points in the mall have been made contactless such as automation of the parking entry ticket dispenser and contactless digital payments for parking, QR-code-based food ordering for take-away, sensor-based contactless lift operations, contactless soap dispensers, sensor-based taps and contactless water spouts.”
This is the second time that plans to reopen the city as a part of the state’s ‘Mission Begin Again’ initiative is seeing roadblocks. On June 5, owners of shops and markets were hesitant to reopen their establishments despite permissions owing to Cyclone Nisarga.