After over two months of lockdown, when the malls finally reopened on Monday, what hit most was the lost charm of the pre-Covid days. Not only the number of visitors had fallen below 25 per cent of normal days, but also the ones who visited were extra cautious and apprehensive.
On the day 1, the business remained lean at the malls with only a few people stepping out to shop and eat. The food courts which are frequented by the youngsters, witnessed a very few footfall.
There were arrangements for thermal scanning and sanitization at the malls.
The staff are required to check if visitors have Aarogya Setu application on their mobile phones before allowing their entry into the mall, however, the staff seemed casual about ensuring adherence to the said norm.
The big brand showrooms were open but visitors had their focus on essentials that were available in big bazaar sort of markets. Among the visitors, the elderly men and women and children below 10 years were missing. Also the female visitors were a few and mostly men were seen shopping at the mall. Unlike other pre-covid days, there was hardly anyone who had come for a fun visit.
The visitors were reluctant to lay their hands on either escalators or they even avoided contacts from lifts. By and large the visitors brought groceries and there were a very less number of customers on either showrooms or at the food courts. The visitors were also being asked to return and get a mask, if they found were wearing either a scarf or cloth. No trials were being offered in the showrooms. The shoppers were made undergo thermal scanning at the entry of the showrooms.
While all the precautions were being followed in the shopping malls, but in parking there were two-wheelers and four wheelers found parked adjacent to each other in contrary to what guidelines are. The vehicles were to be parked in such a way that there is gap of a vehicle in between.
Steep drop in footfall
In Aashima mall, the average footfall is above 18,000 but on Monday the figure shrunk to less than 4,000.
Aashima mall manager Shahab-uddin says the mall's cinema, gaming section and gyms are closed and that is why the footfall fell to one fourth of the routine. Visitors only came to buy essential items and there were very few people in the food court, he added. Besides essentials, the shoppers also visited apparel stores, he added.
Aura Mall manager Shivansh Mishra said that the footfall from any average day was below 20 per cent on Monday. He said on any given day there over 5,000 people visits mall but on Monday the figure shrunk to 1000. It might be because of the non opening of theaters or games section, he said.
While visitors gave malls a slip, there were a few showrooms which remained closed, they are likely to reopen in a day or two.
Over 4000 turns up to DB mall
Vishal Rangvani, assistant general manager (AGM) in DB Mall says the average footfall in any normal days is above 20,000 and it was between 4000 and 5,000 on Monday.
The new normal: Mask, thermal screening, sanitization. Docial distancing
At the very entrance, the staff at malls have to examine the body temperature of visitors, sanitizing their hands before allowing them to enter. The toilets had to have urinals open on alternate basis. No trials in the showrooms had to be allowed. The sitting inside malls is also restricted unless necessary. Elderly people, and children are advised to refrain from visiting public places like malls.
In case of extra rush inside, the mall management has to ask the visitors to wait outside until a few from inside make an exit.
The food courts are required to offer either disposable menu cards or QR code based menu cards.
Seating arrangements has to be made ensuring required social distancing between two person and groups.
By and large the rules were in place but in the parking where the vehicles were found parked adjacent to each other. The vehicles had to be parked at a gap of at least one vehicle in between, but there were several vehicles parked adjacent to each other.
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