At loggerheads with the mall’s management, over 70 food and beverages’ outlet owners of the region’s biggest Elante Mall have announced that they will not open their outlets from June 8, until the mall’s management settles the issue regarding the bills handed to them, pertaining to the rental charges for the lockdown period- April and May.
The outlet owners’ decision comes three days before the malls are set to open as per government guidelines. Sources said that several garment outlet owners are also planning to follow suit.
The food and beverages players at Elante who have decided to not open their outlet include several popular ones, including Peddlers, Pyramid, Swagath, Pashtun, Chillies, Cinnabon, Pirates of the Grill. They stated that each outlet has received communication from the mall’s management to pay the rental charges even for the lockdown period.
“We have not been able to earn a penny during the lockdown as the outlets were completely shut. The management should understand our situation. It is a crisis for all,” said one of the owners, who too has decided not to open his outlet. He added, “The mall’s management should understand that food and beverage is the heart of the mall without which there is no life here.”
Meeting with opposition by the outlet owners over rental charges, the mall’s management had proposed a survival plan, however, it could not resolve the grievances. The survival plan had proposed that the owners must pay 50 per cent of the rent for the lockdown period and 75 per cent of the rent till September 30 and thereafter, as it was before lockdown.
“This is the proposal that we have received from the mall’s management and all of us have decided to not open our outlets. Even if one goes by this proposal, there are outlets who will still need to shell out upto Rs 18 lakh for rent for just the lockdown period,” said an outlet owner.
He added, “Moreover, we are not even sure of how much income will be able to earn and still they are asking for 75 per cent rent till September 30.”
Param Toor from Chillies said, “This is suicidal for our industry. We will not be able to survive at these rents.”
Another owner said, “We have suffered complete loss of business for the last two and half months. There have been absolutely no revenues and we are being forced to bear fixed expenses. At least there should be a waiver of rent on humanitarian grounds.” Several owners said that they are in a fix because other than rental charges, they need to pay fixed electricity charges, salaries of staff and various other bank interests and charges.
Meanwhile, the mall’s spokesperson said that the mall will open to public from June 8. In a written statement, the mall’s management said, “While we are confident that all our partners will smoothly resume operations, we also anticipate the re-opening to be a gradual process as SOPs are understood and adhered to.
Although permissions have been granted for opening up, some parts of the mall, including multiplex and entertainment centers will start only upon receiving specific permissions from the administration. We hope this happens soon.”
It further said, “Elante, home to over 200 brands, will be open from 10 am and till 8 pm. We are absolutely thrilled to welcome all our patrons whilst ensuring social distancing norms are strictly implemented.”
Meanwhile, the mall’s cinema halls, gaming arcades and children play areas will remain closed even after June 8, until further notice. According to the guidelines, the number of customers inside the shops should be minimum.
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