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Thursday, June 24, 2021

Unlock Day 1: Over 9,000 throng Chandigarh’s largest mall

The city finally opened up, with its largest mall seeing a footfall of over 9,000 people till 4 pm on Wednesday- the first day of relaxations.

Written by Hina Rohtaki | Chandigarh |
June 10, 2021 2:10:01 am
Over 90 per cent of the stores at Elante mall were open on Day 1. (Express Photo by Jasbir Malhi)

With the second wave of Covid-19 receding, Chandigarh forged ahead in the phase of unlock on Wednesday, after staying under a lockdown for over a month.

The city finally opened up, with its largest mall seeing a footfall of over 9,000 people till 4 pm on Wednesday- the first day of relaxations.

To ensure compliance with Covid-19 norms, Elante mall deployed Covid wardens on each floor, who asked people to mask up. On a usual day, the mall sees a footfall of over 80,000 people.

Salim Roopani, Centre Director of Elante Mall, said, “We are delighted that the Chandigarh Administration granted us permission to reopen. We opened Elante Mall at 10 am this morning, only after the entire premises were thoroughly sanitised and kept ready on the basis of the SOPs shared by the local administration and the Shopping Centre Association of India.”

The official said that over 90 per cent of the stores at the mall were open on Day 1. “We are certain, leading in to the weekend, almost all our retail partners would be trading with us. As of 4 pm today, we had clocked over 9,000 footfall and we had multiple customers who had shopped for around Rs one lakh each.

Most of the customers were seen walking out with shopping bags, which is heartening. Our floor Covid wardens were ensuring Covid-appropriate behavior was followed at all times within the premises of the mall,” he added.

Restaurants and bars were also opened with 50 per cent capacity, where proper sanitisation was being carried out by the staffers and the efforts were being made to have contactless delivery.

Vipul Dua, who owns the chain of Peddlers said that the response on Wednesday was good. “The response is good. In fact, there was also a birthday party with 15 people on the premises. We are keeping all Covid protocols in place, with 50 per cent seating. We make masks available for everyone and sanitisers are also placed on every table,” Dua said.

Ankit Gupta, President of Chandigarh Hospitality Association said that the response was decent on day 1. “We welcome the very balanced unlocking decision of the UT Administration. Most outlets are in process of opening, while some opened today. With 50 per cent service capacity, and it being the first day, the response has been decent,” said Gupta. However, many are still preferring dining in car. “Many are still preferring to place order at the eateries and sit in their respective vehicles and eat. It is probably because the second wave was really dreadful,” said a cafe owner.

Ginny Chawla of Hotel Altius said that the response was lukewarm. “We are sanitising the venue and have put tables at a distance. Temperatures will be monitored of staff and guests. All the staffers have been directed to wear masks at all times,” he said.

Restaurants and bars have been allowed to remain open till 9 pm. Meanwhile, at the malls, the food court may remain open till 8 pm.

The UT Administration had allowed malls to reopen, stating that they must ensure that there is no crowding within the shops or in the open areas and that the necessary screening of visitors must be done at the entrance.

The city’s gyms, wellness centres, clubs and spas also opened with 50 per cent capacity.

Sukhna lake also opened to visitors after over a month. Many including UT adviser Manoj Parida took a walk on the premises on the first day of the reopening.

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